Buckle up! It’s the Law. And that includes buckling up juveniles handcuffed in a sheriff’s transport van that gets into an accident. In this case, the van driver did not secure the handcuffed juveniles with seatbelts, who were tossed around the van during the accident. The juveniles sued for their injuries. The sheriff asserted immunity under the Colorado Governmental Immunity Act (CGIA) claiming that securing passengers was not an activity within the CGIA’s waiver of immunity for the “operation of a motor vehicle.” The court of appeals disagreed. A previous case held that immunity was waived for a passenger who slipped on ice within a public bus. Based on that case, the court found that immunity was waived because securing the juveniles was part of the “operation” of the transport van and failing to do so caused the injuries.
NOTE: On remand, the trial court denied immunity based on CRS 19-2-508. The Colorado Supreme Court reversed on appeal under CAR 21.