(1) As used in this section:
(a) “Motor vehicle” means a self-propelled vehicle intended primarily for use and operation on the public highways, including passenger cars, station wagons, vans, taxicabs, ambulances, motor homes, and pickups. The term does not include motorcycles, low-power scooters, passenger buses, school buses, and farm tractors and implements of husbandry designed primarily or exclusively for use in agricultural operations.
(b) “Safety belt system” means a system utilizing a lap belt, a shoulder belt, or any other belt or combination of belts installed in a motor vehicle or an autocycle to restrain drivers and passengers, which system conforms to federal motor vehicle safety standards.
(2) Unless exempted pursuant to subsection (3) of this section, every driver of and every front seat passenger in a motor vehicle and every driver of and every passenger in an autocycle equipped with a safety belt system shall wear a fastened safety belt while the motor vehicle is being operated on a street or highway in this state.
(3) Except as provided in section 42-2-105.5 , the requirement of subsection (2) of this section shall not apply to:
(a) A child required by section 42-4-236 to be restrained by a child restraint system;
(b) A member of an ambulance team, other than the driver, while involved in patient care;
(c) A peace officer as described in section 16-2.5-101, C.R.S ., while performing official duties so long as the performance of said duties is in accordance with rules and regulations applicable to said officer which are at least as restrictive as subsection (2) of this section and which only provide exceptions necessary to protect the officer;
(d) A person with a physically or psychologically disabling condition whose physical or psychological disability prevents appropriate restraint by a safety belt system if such person possesses a written statement by a physician certifying the condition, as well as stating the reason why such restraint is inappropriate;
(e) A person driving or riding in a motor vehicle not equipped with a safety belt system due to the fact that federal law does not require such vehicle to be equipped with a safety belt system;
(f) A rural letter carrier of the United States postal service while performing duties as a rural letter carrier; and
(g) A person operating a motor vehicle which does not meet the definition of “commercial vehicle” as that term is defined in section 42-4-235(1)(a) for commercial or residential delivery or pickup service; except that such person shall be required to wear a fastened safety belt during the time period prior to the first delivery or pickup of the day and during the time period following the last delivery or pickup of the day.
(4)(a) Except as otherwise provided in paragraph (b) of this subsection (4), any person who operates a motor vehicle while such person or any passenger is in violation of the requirement of subsection (2) of this section commits a class B traffic infraction. Penalties collected pursuant to this subsection (4) shall be transmitted to the appropriate authority pursuant to the provisions of section 42-1-217(1)(e) and (2) .
(b) A minor driver under eighteen years of age who violates this section shall be punished in accordance with section 42-2-105.5(5)(b) .
(5) No driver in a motor vehicle shall be cited for a violation of subsection (2) of this section unless such driver was stopped by a law enforcement officer for an alleged violation of articles 1 to 4 of this title other than a violation of this section.
(6) Testimony at a trial for a violation charged pursuant to subsection (4) of this section may include:
(a) Testimony by a law enforcement officer that the officer observed the person charged operating a motor vehicle while said operator or any passenger was in violation of the requirement of subsection (2) of this section; or
(b) Evidence that the driver removed the safety belts or knowingly drove a vehicle from which the safety belts had been removed.
(7) Evidence of failure to comply with the requirement of subsection (2) of this section shall be admissible to mitigate damages with respect to any person who was involved in a motor vehicle accident and who seeks in any subsequent litigation to recover damages for injuries resulting from the accident. Such mitigation shall be limited to awards for pain and suffering and shall not be used for limiting recovery of economic loss and medical payments.
(8) The office of transportation safety in the department of transportation shall continue its program for public information and education concerning the benefits of wearing safety belts and shall include within such program the requirements and penalty of this section.
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