Extra seat belt enforcement planned next week
The choice to not wear a seat belt is proving deadly. According to 2014 preliminary data, 78 percent of unbelted deaths occurred in greater Minnesota. As Minnesotans plan their Memorial Day weekend, more than 300 law enforcement agencies will par...
The choice to not wear a seat belt is proving deadly.
According to 2014 preliminary data, 78 percent of unbelted deaths occurred in greater Minnesota.
As Minnesotans plan their Memorial Day weekend, more than 300 law enforcement agencies will participate in the statewide Click It or Ticket campaign. The Brainerd Police Department, along with other local police agencies, are increasing patrols starting Monday through May 31 to help reinforce the message that seat belts save lives.
More Minnesotans than ever are buckling up, the Brainerd Police Department reported. Before Minnesota's first seat belt law in June 1986, 20 percent of front seat vehicle occupants wore belts. Overall seat belt compliance is now about 95 percent for front seat occupants.
The Brainerd Police Department, along with other local police agencies, are increasing patrols starting Monday through May 31.
Each year in Minnesota, lack of seat belt use is a contributing factor in about half of all motorists killed on Minnesota roads.
From 2012-14, 823 were killed in Minnesota and 52 percent were known to be belted.
In 2014, 34 percent of drinking drivers killed were known to be belted.
Nationwide statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reveal how critical seat belts are to preventing tragedy: Seat belts saved nearly 63,000 lives from 2008 to 2012. An additional 3,031 lives could have been saved in 2012 if all unrestrained occupants involved in fatal crashes were buckled up, the Brainerd Police Department reported.
The law may motivate motorists to buckle up but friends and family can influence as well. NHTSA reports when asked to do so, nine out of 10 people will fasten their seat belt.
Minnesota law states drivers and passengers in all seating positions must 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 and shoulder straps should never be tucked under an arm or behind the back.
Minnesota child car seat laws:
• All children younger than 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.
The Click It or Ticket seat belt enforcement and education is a component of the state's Toward Zero Deaths (TZD) initiative. A primary vision of the TZD program is to create a safe driving culture in Minnesota in which motorists support a goal of zero road fatalities by practicing and promoting safe and smart driving behavior.
The TZD focuses on the application of four strategic areas to reduce crashes - education, enforcement, engineering and emergency trauma response.