Increased seatbelt enforcement underway

Extra Click It or Ticket seat belt patrols take to the roads Oct. 12–26 statewide in Minnesota. Carver County is among nearly 400 Minnesota agencies increasing patrols to encourage motorists to buckle up.

In the last three years on Minnesota roads, 377 motorists were not buckled up, representing 43 percent of the total motorist deaths. Of those killed, 41 percent were motorists ages 16–29.

In Carver County during this time period, eight unbelted motorists were killed and eight were seriously injured.

“Non-belt use is a major problem with teens and young adults, and as a result, they are over-represented in traffic deaths,” says Sheriff Jim Olson. “One excuse we hear is ‘belts aren’t comfortable.’ Well, neither are hospital beds.”

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.

Why Buckle Up
In rollover crashes, unbelted motorists are usually ejected from the vehicle. In most cases, the vehicle will roll over them. Often, unbelted motorists will crack teeth out on steering wheels or break their nose, and even slam into and injure or kill others in the vehicle.
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.

Seat belts are the most effective means of protecting oneself from injury while riding in a vehicle. In a crash, odds are six-times greater for injury if a motorist is not buckled up.

Child Passenger Safety
The enforcement campaign will include enforcement of Minnesota’s child passenger safety law which requires use of booster seats. Children should start riding in a booster seat starting around age 4. It is safest for children to remain in a booster until they are 4 feet 9 inches tall or at least age 8. Boosters help adult seat belts fit children correctly.

Carver County stresses the importance to promote the seat belt enforcement to encourage belt use. “The last thing we care to do is write seat belt tickets,” says Sheriff Jim Olson. “We are encouraging that motorists be the true enforcers of the law and speak up to remind others to belt up.”