Drivers cited for not using seat beltsDuring a statewide Click it or Ticket enforcement effort, the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office and the Alexandria Police Department, together, generated 47 seat belt citations.
During a statewide Click it or Ticket enforcement effort, the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office and the Alexandria Police Department, together, generated 47 seat belt citations.
The enforcement period began on October 9 and ended on October 22.
More than 400 law enforcement agencies statewide participated in the Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) enforcement effort aimed at increasing seat belt and child restraint use among Minnesota motorists.
During the two-week enforcement period, the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office and the Alexandria Police Department had additional officers on the roads, focusing on the seat belt enforcement effort. More than 100 extra patrol hours were dedicated to the effort.
“Enforcing seat belt use is something everyone can do just by speaking up and insisting your passengers are belted,” said Sergeant Kevin Guenther with the Alexandria Police Department.
Douglas County Sheriff’s Deputy Brandon Chaffins added, “We would much rather see that you and your passengers are buckled up before you hit the road than meet up with you later to issue you a ticket for not wearing your seat belt.”
In the last three years (2006-2008) in Douglas County, 21 motorists died – six were unbelted – and another 29 were seriously injured. The estimated economic impact of unbelted deaths and serious injuries in Douglas County during this period was $26.2 million.
Statewide, during the same time period, 1,097 motorists were killed in crashes – 539 were unbelted – and another 1,152 unbelted motorists were seriously injured.
Each year in Minnesota, roughly 200 unbelted motorists are killed in crashes and more than 400 are seriously injured.
The October campaign was the first statewide seat belt enforcement effort since Minnesota’s primary seat belt law went into effect on 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.
In Douglas County, the fine for a seat belt ticket is $25 – but with court costs and administrative fees included, the total fine amounts to about $110.
Special nighttime belt patrols were also conducted as part of this enforcement effort. Local police officers and sheriff’s deputies focused on nighttime patrols to combat a disproportionate number of unbelted traffic deaths during nighttime hours.
During 2006-2008, 64 percent of nighttime (9 p.m. to 3 a.m.) fatal crash victims were not wearing seat belts.
The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office and Alexandria Police Department are part of the Toward Zero Deaths (TZD) initiative coordinated by the Department of Public Safety as a component of the state’s Toward Zero Death 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 Safe Communities Coalition, which focuses on the TZD initiative.
For more information about the Safe Communities Coalition, if you would like to attend a meeting or be a part of the group, contact either Douglas County Sheriff’s Deputy Brandon Chaffins at (320) 762-8151 or Alexandria Police Captain Scott Kent at (320) 763-6631.