Buckle up or beware: Major seat belt enforcement begins soonTo prevent unbelted traffic deaths, Alexandria police officers will conduct enhanced patrols October 10-19 during a statewide Safe and Sober “Click It or Ticket” seat belt enforcement sweep.
While Minnesota motorists are buckling up more than ever, unbelted motorists still account for nearly half of all traffic deaths.
To prevent unbelted traffic deaths, Alexandria police officers will conduct enhanced patrols October 10-19 during a statewide Safe and Sober “Click It or Ticket” seat belt enforcement sweep.
Around 400 agencies statewide will participate in the campaign administered by the state Department of Public Safety (DPS). A seat belt citation in Douglas County is $25 but can cost as much as $115 with court and administrative fees.
During 2005-07 in Minnesota, 1,212 vehicle occupants were killed in crashes and 614 were not wearing seat belts. Another 1,298 vehicle occupants were seriously injured because they were not belted during this period. DPS estimates around half of those killed would have survived if they were belted.
In the last three years in Douglas County, 18 died and seven were unbelted. Another seven unbelted motorists were seriously injured during this period. The estimated economic impact of unbelted deaths and serious injuries in Douglas County during 2005-07 was $8,477,500.
Alexandria police will also conduct special nighttime seat belt enforcement patrols during the effort. DPS 2005-07 data reports there were 296 vehicle occupant traffic deaths during nighttime hours (9 p.m. to 3 a.m.) and 184 of the traffic crash victims (62 percent) were not belted.
Another focus of the campaign is teens, the group with the lowest seat belt use compliance, and as a result is over-represented in traffic deaths. During 2005-07 in Minnesota, 149 motorists ages 16-19 were killed in crashes and 75 were unbelted.
“When teens ride together, it’s important someone speaks up and tells their friends to buckle up,” said Sergeant Larry Dailey of the Alexandria Police Department. “It’s that simple to potentially save someone’s life.”
The Safe and Sober effort is coordinated by the Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) as a component of the state’s Toward Zero Death initiative (TZD). TZD is a multi-agency approach to address traffic issues regionally through enforcement, education, engineering and emergency trauma care.