Click It or Ticket: Increased Seat Belt Patrols Take to Minnesota Roads May 19
Nearly half of the State’s Unbelted Deaths Are Ages 16-29
Lake City, MN — Community members were reminded to buckle up this spring as the Click It or Ticket Media Kick-Off event took place on Monday, May 12 in Lake City, MN at Hearth & Homes Technologies.
The Click It or Ticket seat belt enforcement campaign, taking place from May 19-June 1, is a component of the state’s Toward Zero Deaths (TZD) initiative. The TZD vision is to create a safe driving culture in Minnesota in which motorists support a goal of zero road fatalities by practicing and promoting safe and smart driving behavior. TZD focuses on the application of education, enforcement, engineering and emergency medical and trauma services to reduce crashes.
Nearly 400 Minnesota agencies will be increasing patrols to encourage motorists to buckle up during the campaign, which is being coordinated by the Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety.
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.
In a crash, odds are six times greater for injury if a motorist is not buckled up.
Minnesota statute requires children under age 8 to 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 around age 4. It’s preferable to keep children in a harnessed restraint as long as possible.
• Booster seats — Minnesota statute requires children under age 8 to ride in a federally approved car seat or booster, unless the child is 4 feet 9 inches or taller. In Minnesota, booster seats are required by law. Children should start riding in a booster upon outgrowing a forward-facing restraint. A child should remain in a booster until they are 4 feet 9 inches tall, or at least age 8. Boosters lift a child up so adult seat belts fit children properly.
• 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.
• Children under age 13 should always ride in the back seat.
• Motorists should wear lap belts low and snug across the hips; shoulder straps should never be tucked under an arm or behind the back — not only is this unsafe, it is illegal.
• Pregnant women should wear the lap belt under the stomach, as low on the hips as possible and against the upper thighs. The shoulder belt should rest between the breasts.
• Airbags are designed to work with seat belts to keep vehicle occupants in a safe position during a crash — airbags are not effective when the motorist is unbelted.
The southeast Minnesota Toward Zero Deaths initiative brings area law enforcement, public health educators, engineers and emergency medical and trauma services together in an effort to reduce the number of traffic fatalities and severe injuries to zero in southeast Minnesota. The 11-county area includes: Dodge, Fillmore, Freeborn, Goodhue, Houston, Mower, Olmsted, Rice, Steele, Winona and Wabasha counties.