Area counties part of extra seat belt enforcement
The Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety is coordinating extra seat belt enforcement in 10 Minnesota counties in Greater Minnesota with the highest combined totals of deaths and serious, life-altering injuries during 2007–2009 from those not wearing a seat belt: Counties are Cass, Itasca, Mille Lacs, Morrison, Olmsted, St. Louis, Stearns, Renville, Rice and Winona. Combined, there were 854 deaths and serious injuries in these counties during 2007-2009 of those not wearing a seat belt. Each year, 80 percent of the state’s unbelted deaths occur outside the Twin Cities area.
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. Minnesota’s seat belt law requires drivers and passengers in all seating positions, including the back seat, to be buckled up or seated in the correct child restraint. Officers will stop and ticket unbelted drivers or passengers. A seat belt fine is $25 but can cost more than $100 with court and administrative fees.
The campaign will include enforcement of Minnesota’s child passenger safety law which requires children to use an appropriate child passenger seat device. Children should remain in a booster until they are age 8 or 4-feet 9-inches tall. It is recommended to keep children in boosters based on their height rather than age, which helps seat belts fit better.
The Click It or Ticket seat belt enforcement campaign is a component of the state’s core traffic safety initiative (TZD.) 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. TZD focuses on the application of four strategic areas to reduce crashes and are education, enforcement, engineering and emergency trauma response.