Last year in Mesa County nine people died in traffic accidents, almost half of them were not wearing a seat belt. Last year in Colorado 178 unrestrained motorists died in car accidents. Colorado Department of Transportation officials say wearing a seat belt could have saved over half of them.
Pete Mertes, C-DOT Region 3 Traffic Safety Engineer, says, "Two seconds, every time, every place you go, just take the time to be aware when you get into your vehicle, put your seat belt on."
Tuesday’s staged crash kicks of the Click It or Ticket campaign. Mertes says, "There is just an increase awareness of wearing seat belts across the state of Colorado." So far this month the Grand Junction Police Department has written 97 tickets to motorist who didn't buckle up.
Officer Steve Moore, with the Grand Junction Police Department says, "Statistics do show that seat belts do save lives." Moore says being the bearer of bad news is something he would rather not do. "It's frustrating to us when you could walk away from a crash by wearing your seat belt, they don't and I gotta go tell a family member that their son, daughter, husband or wife were killed."
Seat belt use in Mesa County is just over 74 percent, lower than the state average of 81.7 percent.
Moore says being thrown from the car usually results in death. "Usually what happens is that vehicle ends up finding them and running them over or rolling over them which causes death."
The Click It or Ticket campaign doesn't just focus on drivers. Amy Ashman with the Mesa County Health Department says, "Officers can pull you over for not having your child properly restrained." Ashman says, it's important to set a good example for your kids. "We find that whenever parents are properly restrained, children tend to be properly restrained as well," says Ashman.
A fine for not wearing a seat belt will cost you about 70 bucks. Getting in a crash without a seat belt on could cost you your life.
Officials say if 90 percent of drives would buckle up it would save 32 lives a year.