As 2022 begins, the Colorado State Patrol is urging drivers across Colorado to make one of the easiest and most important New Year’s Resolutions of all: staying alive by using a seat belt every single time they get in a car.
In 2021 alone, the Colorado State Patrol recorded 511 vehicle crashes where at least one occupant was either unrestrained or restrained improperly and an additional 120 fatalities due to the same cause – a number far too high for something that can easily be combatted in just a few seconds – the simple click of a seatbelt.
Despite the proven benefit of reducing the risk of serious injury or death in a crash by 50% (NHTSA), Colorado’s seat belt usage rate is 86% – well below the national use average of 90%.
With heavy traffic, construction zones, mountain passes, high-traffic rural roads and all kinds of weather, driving in Colorado is not a passive activity. Driving, just like other popular activities, is far less risky and much more fun when people are using the safety equipment associated with them. The Colorado State Patrol works to educate drivers and passengers that driving and riding in vehicles without a seatbelt can lead to serious injuries and needless fatalities.
The top five leading counties in Colorado for fatal and injury crashes investigated by the Colorado State Patrol with at least one occupant who was unrestrained or improperly restrained were:
- Weld County
- El Paso County
- Adams County
- Jefferson County
- Larimer County
Additionally, unrestrained or improperly restrained occupants who were killed or injured in these same crashes were primarily in the 20-29-year age range.
“Colorado drivers and passengers can hit the ‘easy button’ with their New Year’s resolution this year - just buckle up and stick to it year-round,” said Colonel Matthew C. Packard, Chief of the Colorado State Patrol. “Every trip, no matter how short or long, starts with a seat belt click. It should be a non-negotiable part of getting into the car.”
Remember that regardless of when, where or why you’re in a vehicle, a seatbelt should never be an option. As Colorado’s interstate highways, state highways and city streets or county roads are all impacted by unrestrained or improperly restrained drivers and can be a much safer space with the agreement from all drivers and passengers that wearing a seatbelt is the best way to stay safe.