Colorado State Patrol Urges Motorists to Take Simple Safety Precautions

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(COLO) – During the first quarter of 2021, Colorado State Patrol (CSP) troopers have responded to over 5.5% more fatal crashes than at this same time in 2020. While excessive speed and motorists traveling outside of their designated lane were found to be the top causal factors by CSP crash investigators, a decrease in the use of safety equipment was also discovered.

In the CSP investigated fatal crashes for the first quarter, two trends were discovered:

  • For seatbelts in fatal crashes, 56.14% of victims were not using a seatbelt.
  • For helmet use in fatal crashes, 50% were not using helmets; compared to last year at this time 40% were not using a helmet.

“We’re losing ground, Colorado. While we will always want drivers to practice responsible and lawful behaviors while operating a motor vehicle, it is equally important for anyone, driver or passenger, to use safety equipment,” stated Chief Matthew C. Packard, Colorado State Patrol. “We have to do better. We have to use these tools to increase the chance of surviving an unplanned crash.”   

According to the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), the most recent statistics available (2019) show that Colorado’s seat belt use rate is 86 percent — well below the national use average of 90 percent.

“When making traffic stops, your Colorado State troopers hear a wide range of reasons and excuses that folks aren’t wearing a seatbelt or helmet,” stated Chief Packard. “None are acceptable.”

Colorado law requires the driver and every front seat passenger of a motor vehicle and every passenger in an autocycle to wear a seat belt whenever the vehicle is operated on a street or highway. Drivers under the age of 18 years whose occupants in motor vehicles are not properly restrained or wearing a seat belt commit a traffic infraction. 

In addition, Colorado's child restraint law requires that children 15 years old and younger riding in a vehicle be properly secured regardless of seating position. The table below presents child restraint requirements by age and size of a child. 

Colorado Child Restraint Requirements

Child Age/Size

Statutory Requirement

Less than 1 year and weighing less than 20 pounds

Properly secured in a rear‑facing child restraint system in a rear seat of the vehicle

1 year to 4 years, and weighing 20 to 40 pounds

Properly secured in a rear‑facing or forward‑facing child restraint system

Children up to 8 years

Properly secured in a child restraint system, such as a booster seat, according to the manufacturer's instructions

8 to 15 years

Properly restrained in a safety belt or child restraint system according to manufacturer's instructions

Source: Sections 42‑4‑236 and 42-4‑237, C.R.S.

 

Although helmets are proven to save lives, riders age 18 and over are not required to wear helmets in Colorado. However, if the motorcycle operator or passengers are under age 18, they must wear DOT-approved helmets.

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ABOUT THE COLORADO STATE PATROL
Since our origin in 1935, the Colorado State Patrol (CSP) has focused on preserving human life and protecting property within our communities. Our 1,100 members embody the core values of Honor, Duty, and Respect in their daily jobs.  In addition to our expertise in motor vehicle safety on the state’s roadways, the CSP is responsible for the Governor and other dignitaries’ protection, commercial motor vehicle enforcement, hazardous materials, homeland security, communications, investigative services, criminal interdiction, community education, aviation operations, and more. For additional information, visit us online at Colorado State Patrol or follow us on TwitterInstagram, YouTube, or Facebook.