Buckle Up: Seat belt patrols coming in Minnesota, Kandiyohi, Swift counties
WILLMAR -- Law enforcement agencies across Minnesota, including those in Kandiyohi and Swift counties, are planning extra seat belt patrols between Oct. 12 and 26 to encourage motorists to buckle up.
The Atwater, Benson and Willmar police departments and the Kandiyohi and Swift county sheriff's offices will participate in the extra Click It or Ticket patrols.
In the last three years on Minnesota roads, 377 motorists killed in crashes were not buckled up, representing 43 percent of the total motorist deaths. Of those killed, 41 percent were motorists between the ages of 16 and 29.
"Non-belt use is a major problem with teens and young adults, and as a result, they are over-represented in traffic deaths," says Swift County Sheriff John Holtz. "One excuse we hear is 'belts aren't comfortable,' well, neither are hospital beds."
In Minnesota, drivers and passengers in all seating positions, including the back seat, are required to be buckled up or seated in the correct child restraint. Officers will stop and ticket unbelted drivers or passengers. Seat belts must be worn correctly -- low and snug across the hips; shoulder straps should never be tucked under an arm or behind the back.
Properly wearing a seat belt reduces the risk of fatal injury to front seat passenger occupants by 45 percent in a car and 60 percent in a light truck.
Seat belts are the most effective means of protecting oneself from injury while riding in a vehicle. In a crash, odds are six-times greater for injury if a motorist is not buckled up.
The enforcement campaign will include enforcement of Minnesota's child passenger safety law which requires use of booster seats. Children should start riding in a booster seat starting around age 4. It is safest for children to remain in a booster until they are 4 feet 9 inches tall or at least age 8. Boosters help adult seat belts fit children correctly.