ST. PAUL — The Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety rolled out a new video that focuses on teenage unbelted traffic deaths as a reminder to drivers and passengers — including in the back seat — to buckle up as extra Click It or Ticket seat belt patrols take to the roads statewide today through Oct. 19.
The 30-second video, “Yearbook,” debuted on Twitter Thursday and features the faces of real Minnesota teenagers whose yearbook photos are marked up by the pen of a peer. View the video at http://youtu.be/FpjJt9-JvjQ and download a broadcast-quality version of the spot at https://mndeptpublicsafety.sharefile.com/d/s287ddc1afdb42f9a.
Each year in Minnesota, more than half of the teenagers killed in crashes were not buckled up. There were 102 teen vehicle occupant deaths during 2010–2012 and only 42 were belted.
Nearly 400 Minnesota agencies will increase patrols to encourage motorists to buckle up during the campaign. In a similar campaign in May, 10,342 motorists were ticketed for seat belt violations.
Unbelted motorists continue to represent a significant amount of Minnesota’s traffic fatalities, especially in Greater Minnesota. In the last three years on Minnesota roads (2010-2012): 852 motorists died in crashes, of which 361 (42 percent) were not buckled up; 171 (49 percent) of the 361 unbelted deaths were motorists ages 16–29, and 302 (84 percent) of the 361 unbelted deaths occurred outside the seven-county Twin Cities metro area.
In Minnesota, drivers and passengers in all seating positions, including in 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.
Minnesota law also requires children under age 8 ride in a federally-approved car seat or booster, unless the child is 4 feet, 9 inches or taller. Here are the restraint steps a child should progress through as they age and grow:
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 the child has outgrown the size/weight limit. Keep a child in this restraint as long as possible.
Booster seats — Use once outgrown a forward-facing harnessed restraint; safest to remain in a booster until 4 feet 9 inches tall, or at least age 8. Boosters help seat belts fit properly and are the law in Minnesota.
Seat belts — A child is ready for an adult seat belt when they can sit with their back against the vehicle seat, knees bent comfortably and completely over the vehicle seat edge without slouching, and feet touching the floor. Children 4 feet 9 inches tall or taller can correctly fit in a lap/shoulder belt.