NORTHWEST COLORADO NEWS FOR SUNDAY, JUNE 9TH

Colorado State Patrol Click It or Ticket

The Colorado State Patrol and 63 law enforcement agencies across Colorado are joining the nationwide Click It or Ticket campaign by increasing enforcement of seat belt and child passenger safety laws. The goal is to get more Coloradans to buckle up and ultimately save lives across the state.

In 2012, 159 people who weren’t buckled up lost their lives in traffic crashes on Colorado roadways, which is down from 185 unrestrained fatalities in 2011. The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) is focusing its public awareness campaign on male pickup truck drivers between the ages of 18 and 34 as they have the highest propensity for not wearing their seat belts. Pickup trucks have a seat belt usage rate of 72 percent, which is 10 percent less than the state average usage rate.

“We’ve made progress over the past year in reducing the number of people killed on Colorado roadways, but still far too many motorists aren’t buckling up,” said Darrell Lingk, CDOT’s Director of Highway Safety. “The Click It or Ticket campaign gives us an opportunity to remind everyone that seat belts save lives, and that there are serious risks when people don’t buckle up.”

High-visibility enforcement such as the Click It or Ticket mobilization is credited with increase seat belt use in Colorado. Since Click It or Ticket started in 2002, seat belt use has increased from 72 percent to 82 percent in 2012. There has also been a 58 percent decline in unrestrained deaths—380 in 2002 and 159 in 2012.

“Troopers at the Colorado State Patrol are reminded nearly every day of the needless deaths that occur when someone neglects to wear a seat belt.  And we are relieved when we respond to a crash where everyone survives because they took two seconds to buckle up,” said Colonel Scott Hernandez, Chief of the Colorado State Patrol.  “We would much rather write a seat belt citation than a fatal crash report.  That means no excuses and no warnings if you’re not buckled up.”

Colorado’s Seat Belt Laws

  • Adults — Colorado has a secondary enforcement law for adult drivers and front-seat passengers. Drivers can be ticketed for violating the seat belt law if they are stopped for another traffic violation. Click It of Ticket enforcement focuses on speeding and aggressive drivers. Drivers who are stopped for a traffic violation and are not using a seat belt will be ticketed.  The minimum fine is $65.
  • Teens — Colorado’s Graduated Drivers Licensing (GDL) law requires all drivers under 18 and their passengers, no matter what their age, wear seat belts.  This is a primary enforcement, meaning teens can be pulled over simply for not wearing a seat belt or having passengers without seat belts.
  • Children — Colorado’s child passenger safety law is primary enforcement, meaning the driver can be stopped and ticketed if an officer sees an unrestrained or improperly restrained child under age 16 in the vehicle.

 

Noxious Weeds in Colorado

The Colorado Department of Agriculture is working to stop the spread of noxious weeds across the state through a coordinated effort to detect and eradicate new invaders as well as manage well-established species. Currently, there are 74 species of plants in the state that are designated “noxious,” meaning they pose a threat to the state’s agricultural productivity, wildlife habitat and native plant communities.  They are currently taking on a noxious weed that can be toxic to people and animals: Myrtle Spurge (pictured).

Location: Myrtle Spurge is found mostly in Jefferson County and the Denver Metro area with minor populations in El Paso, Larimer and Garfield counties. There are additional small scattered populations throughout the state.

Treatment: The key to effective control of myrtle spurge is to remove plants prior to seed set and to detect and remove new populations in natural areas early on. Small areas can be easily removed by mechanical means but should be done before the plant produces seed, as the plants can propel seeds up to 15 feet away. Hand pulling or digging when soil is moist works well for smaller populations. Make certain to pull all the roots and wear gloves and eye protection to protect yourself from the toxic milky sap.

What You Can Do: If you see this plant, please contact your county weed management program or CDA. County weed programs are a tremendous resource for treatment of specific weeds in specific counties. Find your county contact at www.colorado.gov/ag/coweedcontacts. You can also email CDA at Steve.Ryder@state.co.us.

Background: Myrtle spurge contains a toxic, milky sap which can cause severe skin irritations, including blistering. This plant is poisonous if ingested; causing nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Wearing gloves, long sleeves, shoes, and eye protection is highly recommended when in contact with myrtle spurge, as all plant parts are considered poisonous.

It was a very popular plant in xeriscapes and rock gardens, preferring sunny to partly sunny areas and well drained soils. It was too well-adapted to our soils and climate and has become a significant invasive pest. Myrtle spurge rapidly escapes gardens and invades natural areas, hillsides and other sensitive ecosystems, out competing native vegetation and reducing wildlife forage.

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