This year, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) is encouraging every driver in the state to buckle up, and they’re using recently collected data to remind drivers why. Although catchy phrases like “seatbelts save lives” and “click it or ticket” have been drilled into the minds of most drivers in safety courses and driver’s education classes, many fail to grasp the reality of how much protection a seatbelt provides. Now, CDOT is taking extra steps to drive that message home and reduce fatalities and injuries from car accidents.
According to recent statistics, traffic deaths in Colorado increased by 10 percent to 545 in 2015. In almost half of those deaths, the victims were not wearing their seatbelts. This is the largest number of car accident victims that the state has seen since 2008 and safety advocates are trying to make sure that this doesn’t happen again in 2016. CDOT stated that most of the deaths in 2015 were caused by risky behaviors, including driving a motorcycle without a helmet, driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol, distracted driving and failing to wear a seatbelt.
In response, CDOT has set aside $300,000 for the fiscal year ahead, specifically earmarked to promote motorcycle and automobile safety. Scott Hernandez, chief of the Colorado State Patrol, encouraged drivers to spend 2016 “buckling up, dropping the distractions, and focus[ing] on driving,” because the fatalities in 2015 could have been prevented with a few simple changes and safety gear.
Spreading it Across the Country
CDOT’s findings from 2015 are part of a nationwide trend towards accident-related deaths. In November, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced that the first half of the year was marked by an 8.1 percent increase in traffic fatalities. Across the country, 15 percent of drivers and passengers reported that they do not wear their seatbelts when they’re on the road. The NHTSA has estimated that if everyone were to wear their seatbelts, more than 60 lives could be saved each year.
Choosing to wear or not wear a seatbelt is not a conscious decision for some drivers. In fact, many people don’t think about it at all when they get into the car, but that negligence could be costly. Seatbelts help secure a person in the event of a crash and generally keeps the individual from flying forward through the windshield or windows or being thrown through the vehicle. It’s telling that a large number of alcohol-related crashes also involve drivers and passengers who were not wearing their seatbelts. When you’re intoxicated, it’s often harder to make the choice to buckle up and take safety precautions.
If you have been injured in a car accident, you know that the road to recovery is quite often long, as well as financially and mentally exhausting. Car accident trauma can leave you with a variety of complications. For more information on accidents and safety, or to discuss your case, contact a Denver car accident attorney at Levine Law today.