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Written by: J. Todd Tenge

What Is Colorado Law Regarding Seat Belts?

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What Is Colorado Law Regarding Seat Belts

In Colorado, both the driver and every front seat passenger in a motor vehicle, as well as all passengers in an autocycle equipped with a safety belt system, are required by law to wear seat belts while the vehicle is in operation on any street or highway. However, adults sitting in the back seat of a car do not have to wear a seat belt. Why the difference? The reason is that a seat belt’s effectiveness has been shown to be much greater for front seat passengers. That is not to say that a seat belt is not effective for those sitting in the backseat. Studies have proven that safety belts save lives when worn properly, regardless of where a person is sitting in a car or truck. For example, a seat belt can save the lives of back seat passengers by keeping them from being thrown from a car in a violent accident. Moreover, not all seat belts are equal. A three-point seat belt, or one that goes across the shoulder and lap, has been proven to be more effective than a belt that only goes across the lap, especially for passengers in the front seat of a vehicle.

Under Colorado’s seat belt law, individuals in vehicles manufactured before 1968 without seat belts are exempt from the seat belt requirement. Furthermore, individuals with verifiable physical or mental disabilities that impede the use of seat belts are also exempt from this law. It is important to note that these exemptions are subject to certain conditions and regulations set forth by the state.

In Colorado, the seat belt law is a primary offense. This means that law enforcement can stop and ticket drivers if they observe any unrestrained or improperly restrained passengers, especially children under the age of 16, in the vehicle. Children under the age of 8 are required to use a suitable child restraint system. For older children, it is mandatory to use either a seat belt or an appropriate child restraint system. For babies who are less than 20 pounds, the seat must be rear facing; and for all other children, the forward-facing car seat must be in the backseat of the car. Parents will be ticketed for any children not properly buckled in or in car seats.

Although police officers are not permitted to pull cars over because the driver is not wearing a seatbelt, if the officer pulls the automobile over for a different traffic violation, the officer may also ticket any drivers or passengers in violation of the safety belt laws.

I have a classic car and I live in Colorado – do I need to install seat belts?

You enjoy cruising around with the top down in your 1960 Oldsmobile 98, but there is one problem – you do not have any seat belts installed in the car. The good news is that Colorado’s law makes a specific exemption for cars manufactured before 1968. This is because, prior to that year, car manufacturers were not required to install seat belts in cars. The bad news is that you would be driving around without a seat belt, which is a rather dangerous activity. Seat belts can usually be installed in an antique car fairly easily and without too much of a cost. Considering that the Colorado State Patrol Department of Safety estimates that a properly worn seat belt gives a person a 50% better chance of surviving in a crash, it would seem like an easy choice to install seatbelts in a classic car.

Although wearing a seatbelt during an accident can help prevent serious bodily injury or death, it will not prevent all harm. If you have been injured due to the negligence of another driver, then you should seek the counsel of an experienced Colorado auto accident attorney. Most attorneys will provide you with a free initial consultation, which can provide you with an estimate for your potential damages and answer any questions that you may have about your case.

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