Following a two-week, enhanced Click It or Ticket seat belt enforcement campaign, Anoka County law enforcement officers are continuing to stress seat belt use as Minnesota motorists drive into the summer driving season.
More than 500 motorists were killed June-September 2008-2010 – 40 percent of the state’s total in the last three years, according to Lt. Shelly Orlando, Anoka County Sheriff’s Office.
“Blue skies and clear roads can result in distracted motorists traveling at faster speeds,” Orlando said.
“Your best defense is to be belted, every seat, every ride.”
In a crash, odds are six times greater for injury if a motorist is not buckled up, Orlando said.
During the Click It or Ticket seat belt enforcement campaign May 21-June 3, 603 motorists were ticketed for not buckling up in Anoka County, she said.
The effort was conducted on a statewide and nationwide level to increase belt compliance to limit preventable deaths and injuries, Orlando said.
Anoka County deputies along with police officers from Anoka, Blaine, Centennial Lakes, Columbia Heights, Coon Rapids, Fridley, Lino Lakes, Ramsey, Spring Lake Park and St. Francis enforced the state’s primary seat belt law – which is saving lives, according to a University of Minnesota study released in March.
The study reported the law has resulted in 68 fewer deaths, 320 fewer injuries and $45 million in avoided hospital charges since enacted three years ago in June 2009, Orlando said.
The primary law requires passengers in all seating positions, including the back seat, to be buckled up or seated in the correct child restraint, according to Orlando.
Officers will stop and ticket unbelted drivers or passengers, Orlando said.
“Seat belts must be worn correctly – low and snug across the hips; shoulder straps should never be tucked under the arm or behind the back,” she said.
Anoka County law enforcement also cited 11 parents and caregivers for child seat violations during the seat belt enforcement, Orlando said.
Minnesota’s child passenger seat law requires children under eight and 4 feet 9 inches tall to be in a car seat of booster seat, she said.
“Boosters are for children after they have outgrown a forward-facing harnessed restraint, typically age four or 40 to 60 pounds, depending on the seat’s weight limitation,” Orlando said.
“Children should remain in a booster until they are age eight or 4 feet 9 inches tall – whichever comes first. DPS recommends keeping children in boosters based on their size rather than age. Boosters also help adult seat belts fit children correctly.”
The Click It or Ticket seat belt education and enforcement campaign is a component of the state’s Toward Zero Death (TZD) initiative, whose primary purpose is to create a safe driving culture in Minnesota.