Buckle Up for Safety: Increase in Traffic Fatalities Demonstrates Need for Stricter Laws in Colorado
A recent Denver Post article revealed that in 2015, 545 individuals died in traffic collisions in Colorado — up from 488 fatalities in 2014 based on information from the Colorado Department of Transportation. The article states that the increase in traffic deaths was just slightly higher than the national increase noted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
That being the case, experts are encouraging lawmakers to create stricter laws that might help area drivers change their general thinking about safety when behind the wheel of an automobile.
Seatbelt Enforcement Laws Need to Change
Accidents can occur for any number of reasons and multiple factors have been cited for the increase — one of which is the fact that there are more people on the road due to lower gas prices. Still, most of the reasons tend to relate to many drivers’ feelings of indifference with respect to possible consequences and the limited legislation with regard to Colorado’s driving laws.
Many people may not realize that Colorado is one of a handful of states in which a police officer cannot stop a driver solely for failing to wear a seatbelt — it’s still categorized as a “secondary enforcement law.”
This means that law enforcement has to have another reason to stop a driver (like speeding) in order to issue a citation for a seatbelt infraction. However, safety advocates believe that changing the law with respect to seatbelts would help decrease the number of traffic fatalities occurring in the state.
The CDC notes that seatbelts lower crash-related injuries and fatalities by almost half. Yet, according to the NHTSA, over 900,000 Coloradans do not buckle up. Also, research shows that when law enforcement can pull someone over solely for failing to wear a seatbelt, it tends to make a big difference in changing the mindsets of many drivers.
Based on CDC statistics, there are certain types of people who are less inclined to wear a seatbelt when operating a motor vehicle. Those individuals include adults living in rural areas (they are 10 percent less likely); adults between the ages of 18 and 34; passengers traveling in the back of motor vehicles; individuals in states with secondary enforcement laws; males (10 percent less likely than females) and young individuals between the ages of 13 and 20.
What You Can Do to Stay Safe
It bears repeating that seatbelts have been shown to save lives and keep individuals from sustaining more severe injuries than they would have sustained without seatbelts. That said, all drivers and passengers are encouraged to always wear a seatbelt, regardless of whether you’re just going down the block or 20 miles down the highway.
If you or someone you love has been injured in an automobile accident, contact the Denver accident lawyers at Levine Law as soon as possible. Let us help you get the just compensation you deserve.