Lack of Seatbelt Use: Concerning Trend Among Young Male Drivers in Colorado

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(COLO) – If you’ve ever said “It’s uncomfortable”, “I’m only going a few blocks”, or “I’m a safe driver” when not wearing a seat belt, the Colorado State Patrol wants to have a heart to heart. Colorado drivers are below the national average when using seat belts, and you are part of the problem.

“Looking at our 2021 data, we’ve definitely noticed who is less likely to use this proven, life-saving device,” stated Matthew C. Packard, Chief of the Colorado State Patrol. “Colorado State Troopers responded to more serious injury and fatality crashes involving improper use or no use of seatbelts with our male drivers between the ages of 20 – 39 than any other group.” 

Recognizing the dangers of not wearing a seatbelt, law enforcement does issue tickets as a form of education to motorists for seatbelt violations when being pulled over for other traffic infractions. In 2021, the Colorado State Patrol issued over 14,590 seat belt citations. Of those drivers, 3,780 were female and 10,810 were male.

“Getting thrown from a vehicle or getting tossed around violently inside during a crash will probably only happen once in your lifetime,” explained Chief Packard. “We aren’t made of steel and it can happen to you. Please, buckle up; your seatbelt could save your life.” 

  • Adults — Colorado has a secondary enforcement law for adult drivers and front-seat passengers. Drivers can be ticketed for violating the seat belt law if they are stopped for another traffic violation.
  •  Teens— Colorado’s Graduated Drivers Licensing (GDL) law requires all drivers under 18 and their passengers, regardless of their age, to wear seat belts. This is primary enforcement, meaning teens can be pulled over simply for not wearing a seat belt or having passengers without seat belts.
  • Children— Colorado's Child Passenger Safety law is primary enforcement, meaning the driver can be stopped and ticketed if an officer sees an unrestrained or improperly restrained child under age 16 in the vehicle. 

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), seat belts reduce the risk of injury or death in a crash by 50%. Yet the Colorado Department of Transportation’s (CDOT’s), most recent statistics shows that Colorado’s seat belt use rate is 86 percent — well below the national use average of 90 percent.

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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.