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West central Minn. law officers cite 75 for no seat belt during Click It campaign

WILLMAR -- Area law enforcement officers cited 75 people for seat belt violations during the extra Click It or Ticket enforcement patrols from Oct. 12 to 26 in Swift and Kandiyohi counties.

The Atwater, Benson and Willmar police departments and the Kandiyohi County and Swift County sheriff's offices participated in the patrols as part of a statewide campaign.

During the extra enforcement, deputies from the Kandiyohi County Sheriff's Office and Willmar Police Department officers also cited five parents and caregivers for child seat violations. Minnesota's child passenger safety law requires children under age 8 or 4 feet 9 inches to be in a car seat or booster seat. Children should start riding in a booster seat starting around age 4. It is safest to keep children riding in a booster until they are 4 feet 9 inches tall, or at least age 8.

More than 400 unbelted motorists were killed in the last three years in Minnesota, representing 43 percent of the total motorist deaths. Of the 377 motorists killed in unbelted deaths during 2009-2011, 154 (41 percent) were motorists ages 16-29.

In a crash, odds are six-times greater for injury if a motorist is not buckled up.

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.