12,639 unbelted motorists ticketed during ‘Click It Or Ticket’ campaign

A statewide Click It or Ticket seat belt enforcement campaign – which ran from May 21 to June 3 – resulted in 12,639 motorists cited for not wearing seat belts, according to preliminary results from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) Office of Traffic Safety.

In the last three years in Minnesota, there were 878 motorist traffic deaths of which 377 (43 percent) were not buckled up. Of the unbelted deaths, 179 (48 percent) of the victims were age 30 or younger and 80 percent occurred outside the seven-county Twin Cities’ area.

Campaign results were reported by 313 agencies. An additional 301 citations were issued for child passenger safety seat violations, including for booster seats. Booster seats are the law for children who have outgrown a forward-facing restraint, for use until age 8 or 4 feet 9 inches tall, whichever comes first. Boosters raise children up so seat belts fit properly.

"We conduct these publicized campaigns to increase belt compliance with the goal to limit preventable deaths and injuries," says Donna Berger, director of the DPS Office of Traffic Safety. "Buckling up is the simplest, most effective precaution motorists have to stay safe on the road."

Minnesota’s primary seat belt law requires 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. 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.

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) designs, implements, and coordinates federally funded traffic safety enforcement and education programs to improve driver behaviors and reduce the deaths and serious injuries that occur on Minnesota roads. OTS also administers state funds for the motorcycle safety program and for the child seats for needy families program. OTS is an anchoring partner of the state’s Toward Zero Deaths traffic safety initiative.

Recent OTS Activity

OTS released a study conducted by the University of Minnesota that found the primary seat belt law has resulted in 68 fewer deaths since the law was enacted nearly three years ago.

OTS is coordinating a pilot program for parent-teen driver awareness courses, to educate parents about their responsibilities to train and monitor their new teen driver.

A St. Michael teen won the $1,000 grand prize of the Buckle Up Teens! TV Commercial Challenge. View the winner and finalists at http://rockthebelt.org/buckleupteens/. Cash prizes donated by AAA Minnesota/Iowa.