Along Main Street on Saturday, three out of four Cortez motorists wore seat belts while driving, but only three in five passengers buckled up.
The Cortez Journal used proven highway observation techniques to collect the snapshot of seat belt use on Saturday, Dec. 28. From downtown Cortez, the unscientific survey was conducted during the noon hour from the southwest corner of the Main Street and Ash Street.
Cortez Police Chief Roy Lane said buckling up could be a life-or-death decision.
“It’s always tough when I have to inform a family that their loved one died as a result of not wearing a seat belt,” he said.
The observational data revealed that of all drivers, 77 percent were buckled up. Male drivers, 60 percent, were more likely to wear seat belts when compared with females. Only half the female drivers wore seat belts.
Of total passengers, the data revealed that 65 percent were restrained. Female passengers, 65 percent, were more likely to wear seat belts when compared with males. Only half the male passengers wore seat belts.
“Here in town, a lot of people think it’s OK not to wear a seat belt, because of the low speed limits,” Lane said. “That’s not true. It’s imperative that people always wear their seat belts.”
Drivers of SUVs were more likely to wear seat belts when compared with drivers of cars or pickup trucks. Two thirds of motorists driving SUVs wore seat belts. Less than 60 percent of all car drivers, and only 40 percent of all drivers in pickup trucks wore seat belts during the survey.
Only motorists traveling eastbound along U.S. Highway were monitored for the survey. With a posted speed limit of 25 mph, the roadways were dry during the half-hour survey.
During the observation time, one law enforcement vehicle was monitored. The male driver of the Colorado Highway Patrol vehicle was wearing his seat belt.
Lane also encouraged motorists not to drink and drive during the New Year’s weekend. Drinking and driving is a huge concern as people celebrate the New Year, he added.
“No matter how much you drink, don’t drive,” Lane said emphatically. “If you’re feeling a buzz, then you’re drunk.”