Everything You Need to Know About the Seatbelt Laws in Colorado

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Seat belt laws in
require the driver and all front seat passengers to wear a seatbelt. In the back seat, only passengers 15 and younger are legally required to wear a belt—unless the driver is younger than 18, in which case everyone has to buckle up.
  • Drivers and front seat passengers must always wear seatbelts in Colorado, as well as minors aged 15 and under in the backseat.
  • If you’re 16 and older, you aren’t legally required to wear a seatbelt if you’re in the backseat. But if your driver is under 18 years old, everyone in the vehicle must be belted.
  • The penalty for breaking the seatbelt laws in Colorado is a $65 fine with a $6 fee for the first infraction, but additional violations can net fines of $130 to $260. 

Drivers and front seat passengers must wear seatbelts in Colorado

Colorado’s seatbelt law mandates that the driver and front seat passengers of a vehicle must always wear a seatbelt. Backseat passengers, on the other hand, are only required to be belted if they’re under 16. 
There’s an exception: The law stipulates that if the driver is under 18, everyone in the car must be belted—no matter their age. 
According to Colorado’s Child Passenger Safety Law, children under the age of 8 must always be strapped into a rear-facing or forward-facing car seat, booster seat, or child restraint system.
According to the Colorado Department of Transportation, seatbelt use can cut car accident mortality and injury risk by as much as 50%. Unfortunately, the Centennial State’s buckling-up rate is only 87%, placing it in the bottom third of the country.  

Penalties for violating the Colorado seatbelt laws

The penalty for breaking the seatbelt laws in Colorado is a $65 “Click It or Ticket” fine, plus a $6 fee. But additional penalties and guidelines apply depending on a driver’s age. 

Drivers over 18

Colorado considers seatbelt violations for drivers over 18 subject to secondary enforcement—meaning adult drivers can’t be pulled over solely by a police officer for a seatbelt offense. 
If a front-seat passenger in the car of a driver aged 18+ is found to be unbuckled, the driver is legally responsible for paying that passenger’s $65 fine. 
Adult drivers won’t get any points added to their record for their first seatbelt infraction. But any subsequent seatbelt violations in the calendar year will add three points to their record and net them potential additional fines of $130 to $260. 

Drivers under 18

For drivers under 18, seatbelt use is subject to primary enforcement, meaning they can be stopped by law enforcement for that reason alone.  Drivers under 18 aren’t responsible for the fines of passengers who didn’t buckle up. 
If you’re a minor driver and you aren’t wearing a seatbelt, you could be assigned community service hours in addition to that $65 fine, and you’ll receive two points on your driving record.  
You must pay a $65 fine if you break the seatbelt law. Drivers under 18 face additional consequences.

Exemptions to the Colorado seatbelt laws

Colorado has some exceptions to its seatbelt laws:
  • People with a letter from their doctors stating that for mental and/or physical reasons, they aren’t able to use a seatbelt
  • Drivers and passengers of taxis and buses
  • Drivers and passengers of emergency vehicles
  • Drivers of vehicles manufactured before 1968 without seatbelts

Could a seatbelt violation affect my insurance?

Yes. State law considers seatbelt violations to be moving violations. If you are charged with breaking the seatbelt law, your insurer will likely bump up your
car insurance
Make sure you pay your fines promptly and avoid multiple violations to minimize the impact on your insurance. But even if you get a ticket, you may be able to save on your car insurance costs by shopping with a
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Yes. Breaking the seatbelt law is a moving violation and a Class B traffic infraction. If you’re a driver under the age of 18, Colorado adds two points to your record for breaking the law. If you’re an adult, you’ll get three points on your record for a second or third seatbelt violation.
Law-makers in Denver, Colorado made seatbelt use mandatory for drivers and front-seat passengers on July 1, 1987. 
Good news if you want to keep your classic ride pristine and untouched (and don’t mind the increased risk of injury): in Colorado, if your motor vehicle was manufactured before 1968, you don’t have to install new seatbelts in it.
Unless you’re under 16, or are riding in a car driven by a minor under 18, you don’t have to buckle up if you’re sitting in the backseat of a car in Colorado. The state has justified this legislation by pointing to statistics showing that car crash fatalities are far more common among unbuckled front-seat passengers. 
Still, it’s important to keep everyone in the car safe. According to the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDoT), there’s a 1 in 40 chance you’ll be in a car accident this year—and if you’re among those unlucky drivers and vehicle occupants, you’ll be glad you took a few extra seconds to snap that shoulder belt on.
By Stephanie Southmayd
Editorial Fellow
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