Minnesota launches state-wide seat belt enforcement campaign
WILLMAR -- The decision to not wear a seatbelt can prove deadly, especially in rural Minnesota, where 78 percent of unbelted traffic fatalities occurred last year.
WILLMAR - The decision to not wear a seatbelt can prove deadly, especially in rural Minnesota, where 78 percent of unbelted traffic fatalities occurred last year.
As Minnesotans plan for Memorial Day weekend, more than 300 law enforcement agencies across the state are gearing up to provide extra seat belt enforcement. Extra patrols will be on Minnesota roads between May 18-31, as part of the Click It or Ticket campaign, according to a news release from the Kandiyohi County Sheriff’s Office and the Swift County Sheriff’s Office.
“We’ve come so far in Minnesota with the number of motorists who make the right choice to buckle up,” Swift County Sheriff John Holtz said. “But for every person who chooses not to wear a seat belt, the lives that can be impacted if a crash happens are astounding. We can all speak up about buckling up before shifting the car into gear.
More Minnesotans than ever are buckling up, according to the news release.
Before Minnesota’s first seat belt law in 1986, 20 percent of front seat occupants wore belts, compared to 95 percent of today’s front seat occupants.
Each year in Minnesota, lack of seat belt use is a contributing factor in about half of all traffic deaths.
Between 2012-2014, 52 percent of the 823 motorists killed in crashes on Minnesota roads were not wearing seat belts, according to the news release.
Citizens also can do their part to save lives by encouraging friends and family to buckle up.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that, when asked to do so, nine of 10 people will fasten their seat belt.
Minnesota law states that drivers and passengers in all seating positions must be buckled or seated in the correct child restraint. Officers can ticket unbelted drivers or passengers.
Seatbelts must be worn correctly, low and snug across the hips, and shoulder straps never should be tucked under an arm or behind the back, according to the news release.
Child car seat law and steps
During the past five years, of 22 children killed in car crashes, only 55 percent were property restrained, according to state Department of Public Safety statistics.
In Minnesota, all children under age 8 must be in a child restraint, unless the child is 4 feet 9 inches or taller, whichever comes first.
• Rear-facing infant seats: Newborns to at least 1 year and 20 pounds; recommended up to age 2. It is safest to keep a child rear-facing as long as possible.
• Forward-facing toddler seats: Age 2 until around age 4. It’s preferable to keep children in a harnessed restraint as long as possible.
• Booster seats: Use after outgrowing a forward-facing harnessed restraint; safest to remain in a booster until 4 feet 9 inches tall, or at least age 8, whichever comes first.
• Seat belts: Use when children can sit with their back against the seat and have their knees bent comfortably over the vehicle seat edge with feet touching the floor.