Focus will be on the 12 percent of people who don't buckle up in Colorado

Starting April 1, the Colorado Department of Transportation, the Colorado State Patrol (CSP) and 36 local law enforcement agencies throughout Colorado will begin the first seat belt enforcement period of 2024. The Click It or Ticket enforcement campaign will run through April 14.

Click It or Ticket is a national high-visibility enforcement campaign centered on the consequences of not wearing a seat belt. During the two-week period, law enforcement will be increasing patrols and focusing on issuing citations to drivers not wearing a seat belt.

“We can't stress this enough: wearing a seat belt dramatically improves the chances that you will survive a car crash,” said Matthew C. Packard, chief of the CSP. “In 2023, 81 percent of occupants who survived fatal crashes in Colorado were wearing a seat belt. By comparison, only 19 percent of the unbuckled occupants survived.”

Colorado's seat belt use rate has improved in recent years - up nearly 2 percent from 2022. As of 2023, 88 percent of Coloradans buckle up - the highest use rate observed in the past 10 years, according to the Colorado Statewide Seat Belt Survey. Colorado also saw improvements last year in unbuckled fatalities. In 2023, there were 223 unbuckled vehicle occupant fatalities, an 8 percent decrease from 2022.

Arapahoe County had the highest seat belt use rate in 2023, with 98 percent of drivers buckling up. The lowest seat belt use rate was in Jefferson County at 73.5 percent. Statewide, Colorado's seat belt use rate still sits several points below the national average of 92 percent - something CDOT and law enforcement are working to change through programs like Click It or Ticket and calling on individuals and communities to take responsibility for their own safety.

“It's encouraging to see these positive trends across our state,” said CDOT's Office of Transportation Safety Director Darrell Lingk. “Wearing a seat belt is truly one of the easiest things you can do to protect yourself. You can't always control what happens on the road, but you can control your odds of being seriously injured or killed in a crash by wearing a seat belt.”

Wearing a seat belt reduces the risk of severe injury or death by up to 65 percent, according to The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Click here to view CDOT's newest seat belt PSAs, highlighting the most unforgiving laws of all - physics.

Colorado's seat belt laws

Colorado law requires the driver and every front seat passenger of a motor vehicle and the driver and every passenger in an auto or cycle equipped with a safety belt system to wear a seat belt whenever the vehicle is in operation on a street or highway.

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 ages, to wear seat belts. This is a 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 a 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.

Fines for not buckling up in Colorado start at $65, and parents or caregivers caught with an improperly restrained child can receive a minimum fine of $82.

Vehicle collisions are a leading cause of death for children ages 1 to 13. Last year, out of more than 5,000 car seat checks performed in Colorado, there was a 66 percent misuse rate. Parents and caregivers can learn more about Colorado child passenger safety laws, recommendations and recalls at