Police say buckle up … or pay up
SUMMIT COUNTY – Local police officers are warning drivers to buckle up or face a fine.Summit County law enforcement will participate in Colorado’s Click It or Ticket seat belt enforcement beginning Monday and continuing through June 4.”Each department has received a grant from the Colorado Department of Transportation to conduct overtime traffic enforcement,” said Sheriff John Minor of the Summit County Sheriff’s Office. “Our officers and deputies will be on the road looking for unbuckled children and aggressive and speeding drivers. We will be issuing tickets to all seat belt law violators.”Motorists should expect to see increased traffic enforcement throughout Summit County during the two-week campaign. The push for seat belt use is especially important as the Memorial Day weekend approaches and summer travel increases, according to a press release from the Silverthorne Police Department. Historically, traffic deaths in Colorado increase during the summer months and seat belt and child safety seat use can prevent serious injuries and fatalities from traffic crashes, the release said.”We want to have a safe summer in our county,” said Dillon Police Department Chief John Mackey. “We hope drivers will buckle up on every trip and ensure that young passengers are properly secured in appropriate child safety seats and other passengers are wearing seat belts.”Since Click It or Ticket started in 2002, driver and passenger deaths on Colorado highways have decreased by 27 percent. Although the campaign has had a significant impact, 257 unbuckled drivers and passengers died on Colorado highways in 2005, the release said.According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, lap and shoulder belts reduce the risk of death for those in the front seat of passenger cars by 45 percent, and the risk of moderate-to-critical injuries by 50 percent. The fatality risk of front-seat motorists in sport-utility vehicles, pickup trucks and vans who wear seat belts is reduced by 60 percent and moderate-to-critical injuries by 65 percent.Drivers under 17 are restricted to only one passenger in the front seat and may only have as many passengers in the back seat of the car as there are seat belts. The driver and all passengers must be buckled up and the driver can be stopped and ticketed for violating the law. The minimum fine is $40 and two points against the minor driver’s record. The seat belt law for adults requires the driver and front seat passengers to buckle up. The law is a secondary offense, meaning a driver must be stopped for another offense before receiving a ticket for a seat belt violation. The minimum fine is $18.
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