Colorado DOT Uses Hearses to Highlight Seat Belt Usage

The Colorado Department of Transportation recently held a funeral hearse procession in Denver to refocus the attention of motorists to the importance of wearing seat belts.

[Above photo by the Colorado DOT]

The hearse procession, held in high-traffic areas throughout Denver, served as a “somber reminder” of what could be a person’s final journey if they fail to buckle up, the agency said – which noted that, in 2022, 236 unbuckled drivers and passengers were killed on Colorado roadways.

“Hearses make a powerful statement about the potential consequences of not wearing a seat belt,” noted Darrell Lingk, director of the Colorado DOT’s Office of Transportation, in a statement.

“We hope this memorable visual will serve as a stark reminder of what could happen in the event of a crash and encourage Coloradans to buckle up,” he said.

The hearses, provided by Sendak Hearse Rental, joined forces at Colorado DOT headquarters before commencing their route through Denver, passing notable landmarks and neighborhoods such as Denver Union Station, Ballpark District, River North, Five Points, and South Broadway. The convoy, featuring hearses adorned with messages like “Buckle Up: Avoid This Ride” and “Click It or Ticket,” garnered attention from onlookers.

The Colorado DOT noted that this funeral hearse event was also held in conjunction with the start of its annual statewide seat belt study. The agency noted that its 2022 seat belt survey – available by clicking here – found that just 87 percent of state residents buckled up, far below the national average of 92 percent. That survey tracks seat belt use across five vehicle categories: Sport Utility Vehicles, vans, cars, commercial vehicles, and passenger trucks.

State departments of transportation across the country support a variety of seat belt education as well as enforcement campaigns on a yearly basis.

For example, in February, the Texas Department of Transportation conducted a “Teen Click It or Ticket” campaign to get teenaged motor vehicle drivers and passengers to buckle up “every seat, every ride.”

The agency noted that nearly a quarter of vehicle crashes that occurred in Texas in 2021 involved a teenaged driver. However, while seat belts offer the best protection in a crash, seat belt use remains low among teenaged drivers and passengers, the agency noted. For example, in 2021, 45 percent (144 of 318) of teens killed in vehicle crashes were not wearing seat belts, TxDOT said.

In October 2022, the Illinois Department of Transportation took an interesting approach with its multimedia safety campaign entitled “It’s Not a Game,” which sought to help reduce injuries and fatalities associated with motorcycles, bicycles, pedestrians, work zones, as well as boost seatbelt usage plus reduce impaired and distracted driving.

The agency said the “creative material” for that safety campaign relied on the appearance of an old-school video game platform to educate motorists that safety is literally not a game, that it comes with real consequences, and that everyone is a winner when “wreck-less” driving is the shared goal.

“The rising number of traffic fatalities in Illinois and across the country is deeply concerning, especially since almost all of them are preventable,” explained Illinois DOT Secretary Omer Osman at the time. “‘It’s Not a Game’ is a clever way to reinforce the message that bad choices can cost you your life or someone else’s and the only acceptable number of fatalities is zero.”

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