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Kandiyohi, Swift counties ticket 118 unbelted drivers during seat belt effort

WILLMAR -- Law enforcement officers in Kandiyohi and Swift counties issued tickets to 118 unbelted drivers from May 20 to June 2 as part of a Click It or Ticket seat belt education and enforcement campaign, according to a news release from the Kandiyohi County Sheriff's Office.

The Click It or Ticket program is a component of the state's Toward Zero Deaths initiative. A primary vision of the initiative is to create a safe driving culture. Toward Zero Deaths focuses on four strategic areas to reduce crashes -- education, enforcement, engineering and emergency trauma response.

More than 350 unbelted motorists were killed in traffic crashes from 2010-2012 in Minnesota, according to the release.

Of the 352 motorists killed in unbelted deaths during that time, 145 were ages 16-29, a total of 41 percent.

In Minnesota, drivers and passengers in all seating positions, including in the back seat, are required to be buckled up or seated in the correct child restraint.

The release includes other information about the importance of using seat belts.

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

In rollover crashes, unbelted motorists are usually ejected from the vehicle. In most cases, vehicles run over those who are ejected. Often, unbelted motorists will crack teeth out on steering wheels or break their noses. They could also slam into and injure or kill others in the vehicle.

Minnesota statute requires children under age 8 to ride in a car seat or booster, unless the child is 4 feet 9 inches or taller.