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Click It or Ticket campaign beginning May 19

Motorists and passengers are reminded of the importance of buckling up as extra Click It or Ticket seat belt patrols take to the roads statewide for two weeks – May 19-June 1.

The Becker County Sheriff’s Office is among nearly 400 Minnesota agencies increasing patrols to encourage motorists to buckle up.

In the last five years on Minnesota roads (2009-2013), there were 1,423 motor vehicle occupant deaths, of which 587 (41.3 percent) were not buckled up.

According to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety, data from the past five years also shows:

  • more than 40 percent (237 of 587) of unbelted fatalities were between 15- to 29-years-old
  • nearly 64 percent (190 of 298) of drinking drivers killed were not wearing a seat belt
  • nearly 44 percent (474 of 1,084) of those killed in greater Minnesota crashes were unbelted compared to 33 percent (113 of 339) in the seven-county metro area

In Becker County during this time period, 7 unbelted motorists were killed and 97 were seriously injured.

“Every year, teens and young adults represent a large percentage of unbelted traffic deaths, which indicates there is still a major issue with seat belt usage among that age group,” says Sgt. Todd Glander. “For whatever reason – be it comfort, restriction or philosophy – some motorists and passengers still refuse to wear their seat belts. We ask them to remember that their minor inconvenience could turn out to be a major life saver.”

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.

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.

The Becker County Sheriff’s Office stresses the importance to promote the seat belt enforcement to encourage belt use.

“We want motorists to be the true enforcers of the law and speak up to remind others to belt up,” says Glander. “The last thing we care to do is write seat belt tickets.”