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'Buckle Up or Beware' nets 46 citations for seat belts, child restraints

WILLMAR -- Law enforcement agencies in Kandiyohi and Swift counties cited 46 people during the recent 10-day "Buckle Up or Beware" fall seat belt campaign. Contacts during this Safe & Sober traffic safety education and enforcement wave highlighted some misconceptions about seat belt use of which area motorists need to be.

If you think the deputy or officer won't write you a seat belt ticket when you're within a few miles of home, beware: 41 people found out otherwise. All 33 drivers were stopped for a moving traffic law violation in order to receive those tickets.

Believe you can't get a seat belt ticket when you're a passenger, beware: 8 passengers were reminded that an unbuckled front-seat passenger can get their own treat. Each was issued a citation which will cost them about $115.

Kids may be resilient, but beware when they fly in vehicles. Five drivers were cited for having children under age 4 unrestrained or improperly belted. That citation is $130, and the consequences to an unbuckled child during a crash can be lifelong or life-ending.

Local law enforcement personnel will go trick-or-treating for drunken drivers on Halloween through a stepped up enforcement effort. Extra officers and deputies will be on patrol during the next Safe & Sober effort to target impaired driving.

Law officers urge all drinking spirits to have a plan for a safe ride home before indulging: Designate a sober driver, use alternative or public transportation, or stay the night at the location of the celebration. All motorists will need to reduce speeds and remain alert at all times during Halloween festivities.

Pedestrian safety must also be emphasized on Halloween. Treat-seekers and their parents should review basic pedestrian rules -- cross at intersections or marked crosswalks, use flashlights and reflective wear, be very cautious in parking lots, and never dart in front of traffic. Teen tricksters should be reminded to be safety-minded around traffic as well.