It’s that time of year again. With a holiday weekend approaching, law enforcement and traffic safety agencies have concocted a campaign supposedly meant to protect Colorado residents. The focus is to encourage more drivers and passengers to use their seat belts and properly restrain children in required safety seats.
The minimum fine for a seat belt or child passenger traffic violation is $65. That’s a lot of money for many of us, especially during this difficult time in our economy. The state of the nation’s finances, however, isn’t necessary to bring out critics’ cynicism regarding seat belt laws.
Some doubt that the priority behind punishing someone for not wearing a seat belt is truly safety. They view traffic tickets as mere revenue boosters for law enforcement. It is easy to understand why securing children into a vehicle safely is crucial, but is it necessary to punish a sound-minded adult for not buckling up?
In Colorado, it is required that drivers and front-seat passengers wear their seat belts. But such violations are secondary offenses, meaning people can’t get ticketed for a seat belt violation unless they are pulled over for a primary traffic offense. Child passenger safety laws are different; an officer can pull someone over and ticket them for a child restraint violation alone.
Colorado’s driver and passenger safety campaign kicks off today and runs through June 5. If you notice more law enforcement on the roads over the next couple weeks, that is probably why. To save yourself from a $65 fine, it’s your best bet for you and your front seat buddies to buckle up.
TheDenverChannel.com: “Police Step Up Seat Belt Campaign,” Justin Adams, 21 May 2011