Alarming: Colorado Traffic Fatalities Are Up 12% in 2021
So far this year, 193 Colorado residents went on the road - and never made it home.
Colorado Traffic Deaths on the Rise
According to the Colorado Department of Transportation, the 193 deaths on Colorado roads represent an increase of 12% compared to this time last year.
In 2020, a total of 612 people, including pedestrians, lost their lives on Colorado roads. CDOT says 365 of those were in passenger vehicles and more than half were unbuckled at the time of the crash. That means that as many as 203 Coloradans might still be alive today had they only buckled up. Just think about all of the family members in Colorado who have had to deal with the tragedy of losing a loved one in a traffic accident.
El Paso County had the highest number of unbuckled traffic fatalities with 25, followed by Weld County's 23, and Arapahoe County with 20.
Click It or TIcket
Every year, CDOT and law enforcement agencies across the state engage in safety campaigns to encourage Colorado residents to buckle up. The current "Click It or Ticket" campaign runs through this weekend. The next enforcement period will happen during the first week of August.
The National Highway Safety Administration says seat belts reduce the risk of injury or death in a crash by 50%. In spite of those numbers, just 86% of Coloradans buckle up when they hit that road. That figure is 4% lower than the national average of 90% seatbelt compliance.
Colorado Seat Belt Laws
Colorado has seat belt laws, but it is a secondary enforcement law for adult drivers and front-seat passengers. That means drivers can be ticketed for not wearing a seatbelt if they are stopped for another traffic violation. The fines for seatbelt violations start at $65.
On the other hand, the seatbelt law is a primary enforcement when it comes to teenagers. Colorado drivers under the age of 18 and their passengers - regardless of age- are required to wear seatbelts.
Seatbelts Save Lives
For many people, like myself, wearing seatbelts is a natural thing to do. We've been buckling up for so many years we do it out of habit and it actually feels weird to not be wearing a seatbelt. Of course, car manufacturers have helped increase seatbelt compliance with that annoying dinging noise you hear until your seatbelt is fastened. Some vehicles won't even let you shift into drive unless you are buckled in.
Wearing a seatbelt is such a simple thing to do, yet it is the very thing that could save you from serious injury or death if you are ever in an accident. More than 200 Colorado residents thought it would never happen to them - but it did, and now it's too late.
With more traffic on the road during the summer months, the danger is greater than ever. Let this be a reminder to always buckle up -- and make sure your passengers are buckled in as well. Nobody wants to be the next fatality statistic.
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