New crackdown on buckling up starts todayStarting today, Friday, here’s yet another incentive to buckle up… Law enforcement officers from Douglas County Sheriff’s Office and Alexandria Police Department, along with officers from about 400 agencies across the state of Minnesota, will conduct enhanced “Click It or Ticket” seat belt patrols on October 9-22.
Starting today, Friday, here’s yet another incentive to buckle up…
Law enforcement officers from Douglas County Sheriff’s Office and Alexandria Police Department, along with officers from about 400 agencies across the state of Minnesota, will conduct enhanced “Click It or Ticket” seat belt patrols on October 9-22.
It’s the state’s first full-scale seat belt enforcement effort since Minnesota’s primary seat belt law became effective June 9.
The primary law requires passengers in all seating positions – including the back seat – to be buckled up or seated in the correct child restraint.
Law enforcement officers can stop and ticket motorists solely for seat belt violations, including unbelted passengers.
The fine amount for a seat belt citation in Douglas County is $25 but with court and administrative fees included, the total fine amount is $110.
Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) reports that during 2006-2008, 1,097 motorists were killed in crashes – 539 were unbelted – and another 1,152 unbelted motorists were seriously injured.
In Douglas County, 21 motorists were killed – six were not belted – and another eight unbelted motorists were seriously injured.
“These deaths and injuries are not only tragic reminders of the lives lost in our communities, but should serve as a reminder everyone that traffic deaths due to seat belt non-use are preventable,” said Douglas County Deputy Sheriff Brandon Chaffins. “The state’s primary seat belt law is intended to boost belt use compliance to prevent these needless tragedies.”
Law enforcement will further focus their enforcement efforts toward special nighttime seat belt enforcement patrols.
DPS 2006-2008 data reports 277 motorists were killed during nighttime hours (9 p.m. to 3 a.m.) and of those killed, 178 (64 percent) were not belted.
Alexandria Police Department Sergeant Kevin Guenther added that local law enforcement officers are also concerned about belt use among teens and young adults – the groups least likely to buckle up and who are overrepresented in traffic deaths.
Statewide each year, motorists ages 15-29 account for 45 percent of all unbelted deaths, yet this group represents only 25 percent of all licensed drivers.
Of these unbelted deaths, 80 percent occur in Greater Minnesota. This same age group accounts for 55 percent of all unbelted serious injuries – 70 percent occur in Greater Minnesota.
With a similar seat belt enforcement wave, officers from the Alexandria Police Department and deputies with the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office issued 35 seat belt citations with at least four issued during evening hours.
The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office and Alexandria Police Department are committed to the toward Zero Deaths (TZD) initiative, coordinated by DPS as a component of the state’s Toward Zero Death (TZD) initiative. TZD is a multi-agency approach to address traffic issues regionally through enforcement, education, engineering and emergency trauma care.
Both agencies have active representation on the Douglas County Toward Zero Deaths Coalition (Safe Communities).
For information about the TZD Coalition, if you would like to attend a meeting or be a part of the group, contact either Douglas County Deputy Sheriff Brandon Chaffins at (320) 762-8151 or Alexandria Police Department Captain Scott Kent at (320) 763-6631.