DENVER (KDVR) — The number of deaths in Colorado caused by car accidents is at the highest level in more than two decades according to the Colorado Department of Transportation.

State and local police will launch another Click It or Ticket campaign on May 16 that will continue through June 5 in an effort to raise awareness of the importance of buckling up before driving a vehicle.

Spokesperson Sam Cole told FOX31, “no questions asked, if you’re not buckled up you will receive a ticket, no excuses.”

Cole explains that studies show wearing a seat belt reduces your chances of getting injured or killed in a crash by 50%.

Next week marks the beginning of one of the busiest road travel seasons of the year in Colorado. In 2021, fatalities related to crashes in Denver where the driver did not wear a seat belt jumped 144% from the previous year.

“About 86% of people in Colorado buckle up, and that’s a good thing, but it’s way below the national average, we see a lot of states upward of 98% buckle up,” said Cole.

Paul Jeanelle, who recently survived a car accident, stresses that all drivers should wear their seat belts whether they are taking a long trip or just traveling around the corner.

He said the reason is simple, “I care about my life, I care about my well-being.

CDOT reports that an average of more than 150 people are killed in traffic accidents during the summer months.

Cole says parents have a special responsibility to set the right example for their children.

“If you’re not buckled up as an adult and you’re driving with children in the car odds are they’re going to grow up and not drive buckled either,” he said.

Automobile crashes are a leading cause of death for children ages 1 to 13. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that 46% of car seats are being used incorrectly.

Nearly 3,000 drivers in Colorado received citations for not wearing a seat belt during two recent enforcement periods.

Fines can begin at more than sixty dollars, more for parents who do not have their children restrained.