Statistics on Seat Belt Use

One of the easiest things you can do to protect yourself when you get in the car is to fasten your seat belt.  Yet each year there are still many people who needlessly lose their lives simply because they didn’t buckle up.  According to the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), the average rate of seat belt use in Colorado is just 84%, lower than the national average of 90.1%.  During a seat belt enforcement campaign spanning two weeks in May-June 2017, including Memorial Day weekend, a whopping 5,505 drivers were cited for seat belt violations, with an additional 217 ticketed for driving with improperly restrained children.

CDOT notes that “In 2016, 180 people who weren’t buckled up lost their lives in traffic crashes on Colorado roadways. If everyone had buckled up, nearly half of the victims would have lived.”  That exact same number of fatalities also occurred in 2013. That year, CDOT issued an infographic Unbuckled and Uncensored, which offers further insight on these fatalities.  For instance, this publication illustrates that more men than women failed to buckle up; 49% of the unbuckled fatalities were alcohol-related; and 63% of fatal crashes involved a pickup truck or SUV.

You can find statistical information on seat belt use, car seats, and other safety measures both on CDOT’s website and from our library.  CDOT publishes several annual reports about seat belt use, which you can access from our library:

Older data, for comparison purposes, can be found in

Also, for more about what the state is doing to try to promote seat belt use, see the CDOT research report Identification of Appropriate Investment Levels to Maintain and Improve Seat Belt Usage Rates in the State of Colorado.

Image courtesy CDOT 

Amy Zimmer
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