Under current Colorado law, seat belt violations are considered a secondary offense, meaning police can only cite a driver for not wearing a seat belt if the driver is already pulled over for another alleged offense.
Some Colorado lawmakers, however, are hoping to change all this with the introduction of Colorado Senate Bill 53.
What does SB 53 seek to change?
Even though SB 53 is not a very large bill, it does propose some significant changes to Colorado’s current seat belt laws. Specifically, SB 53 will, if passed, eliminate the provisions that make seat belt violations a secondary offense, thereby making it primary offense — meaning it would be legal for police to pull over drivers solely for not wearing their seat belts.
In addition, this bill would require all passengers to wear their seat belts, as opposed to only those in the front seat, which is what the current law mandates.
As you can imagine, there are many opponents to this proposed law, including those who claim it will simply place additional pressure on police to enforce even more primary traffic offenses, not to mention that it also encroaches on personal freedoms.
Interestingly, while this legislation does seek to make it easier for police to cite motorists for failing to wear their seat belts, it does not propose any changes to the penalties for this alleged offense. For instance, even if this bill were to become law, not wearing one’s seat belt would still be a class B traffic infraction in most situations.