Several dozen parents in rural Colorado counties were cited for improperly restraining their children during CDOT's 1-week Click It or Ticket enforcement period last month.

With the help of Colorado State Patrol and local law enforcement agencies, 1,144 unbelted drivers and passengers were cited, plus 45 parents or caregivers were cited for improper child restraint from July 18-24 in rural communities alone.

CDOT has focused their efforts heavily on delivering the message that unbuckled passengers are at risk of being ejected or colliding with other passengers in the vehicle, increasing risk of serious injury or death to other occupants by 40%. They even hoisted up a giant airbag in Downtown Denver to spread the word.

"Riding unbelted is extremely dangerous to everyone in a vehicle," Darrell Lingk, Director of the Office of Transportation Safety at CDOT, said in a news release. "The benefits of seat belts are proven. CDOT's goal for the enforcement periods is to remind people to buckle up - before they are injured or even worse, killed."

Most citations during July's enforcement period were issued by Colorado State Patrol (604), Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office (39), Montrose Police Department (37), and the Montrose County Sheriff's Office (32).

In case you've forgotten (or didn't know) what the seat belt laws are, they go as follows:

  • Adults - Secondary enforcement law for adult drivers and front-seat passengers in Colorado; drivers can be ticketed for violating the seat belt law if they are stopped for another traffic violation.
  • Teens - The Graduated Drivers Licensing law requires all drivers under 18 and their passengers (no matter what age) to wear seat belts. This enforcement is primary, meaning teens can be pulled over simply if anyone in the car is not wearing a seat belt.
  • Children - Drivers can be stopped and ticketed if an officer sees an unrestrained or improperly restrained child under age 16 in the vehicle, as Colorado's child passenger safety law is primary enforcement.

Seat belts saved 169 lives in Colorado in 2014, and an additional 63 could have been saved had all unrestrained passengers over age 5 in fatal crashes been properly restrained.