Alcohol and speeding are believed to have played a role in a fatal accident in El Paso County. Charles Limbrick, a 44-year-old from Ramah, was killed in the crash along Highway 24. The Colorado State Patrol (CSP) said he was not wearing a safety belt when his truck left the roadway and flipped, leading to his death at the scene. Individuals from Woodmen Valley Chapel claimed he had been an active member of their spiritual community and he leaves behind his wife named Cindy. Limbrick had prior alcohol-related problems including a 2015 DUI conviction.
Limbrick was sentenced to prison following a conviction for first-degree murder for shooting his mother in 1988 when he was 15 years old. He stood trial as an adult and received a 40-year sentence, making him the youngest person to be sentenced to an adult prison. He had a good prison record and was released in 2011. He was said to have embraced the Christian faith, was active in the choir, and had been forgiven by his family. In 2015 he caused a multiple vehicle accident while driving with a blood-alcohol level well beyond the legal limit. He was ordered to complete 100 hours of community service, an educational program for alcohol, and was placed on probation.
Colorado Seatbelt Usage Study
A 2017 study regarding seatbelt usage was conducted by the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT). They determined that the average rate of seatbelt usage by drivers in the state was 83.8%. Although it is difficult to specifically determine the reasons for increased compliance, the state has made significant efforts including:
- CDOT and the Department of Public Health's efforts in education and safety awareness
- Expanding knowledge of the importance of seatbelt usage particularly for drivers and front-seat passengers
- Involvement in the "Click It or Ticket" initiative
- Expanded law enforcement efforts to encourage compliance
The vehicle category with the lowest rate of usage was pickup trucks. This statistic is partially impacted by pickup truck owners in agriculturally-focused regions of the state that tend to use less traveled secondary roads at lower speeds.
Colorado Seatbelt Enforcement Program in Rural Areas
This summer from July 17th to the 23rd, the CDOT, CSP, and local enforcement agencies ticketed 1,175 motorists during a seatbelt program exclusively in rural parts of the state. During the 2015 campaign, roughly 1,116 citations were issued. Of those cited, 65 had children that were not using their seatbelts, 21 of which were under the age of four-years-old. Weld County was a targeted area for enforcement after 23 fatalities occurred last year involving individuals not wearing seatbelts.
“Click it or Ticket” Project
It is estimated that across the U.S. last year over 13,000 lives were saved by seatbelts, 200 of which were in Colorado. In slightly over 50% of fatal crashes, the deceased was not wearing a safety belt. The CSP has been active locally in the national “Click it or Ticket” initiative. Other supporters include the National Safety Council's Air Bag & Seat Belt Safety division and the NHTSA.
Colorado Seatbelt & Child Restraint Laws
The state has the following laws in place:
- Adults must wear seatbelts in the front seats of the vehicle. This is a secondary law of enforcement, meaning that those in violation may be ticketed only if stopped for another traffic offense.
- Teenagers must adhere to the provisions of the Graduated Drivers Licensing Law that requires all those less than 18 years of age to buckle up and is a primary law of enforcement, meaning drivers may be stopped exclusively for non-compliance.
Children are subject to the Child Passenger Safety Law, a primary law of enforcement that has various provisions including:
- Infants up to one-year-old and weighing under 20 pounds must be restrained in a rear-facing safety seat.
- Children up to four-years-old and weighing under 40 pounds may be restrained in either a forward or rear-facing safety seat.
- Children under eight years old must ride in a booster seat with proper restraints.
Mr. Limbrick lost his life because he failed to wear a seatbelt. Even though he was drinking and driving, his life could have been saved but for the seatbelt. Don't let the same fate be yours: buckle up.