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10,342 unbelted motorists ticketed during crackdown

ST. PAUL -- A statewide Click It or Ticket seat belt enforcement campaign, May 20-June 2, resulted in 10,342 motorists cited for not wearing seat belts, according to preliminary results from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) Office of Traffic Safety.

Campaign results were reported by 323 agencies. Included in the citation count were 256 child passenger safety seat and booster seat violations. Booster seats are the law for children who have outgrown a forward-facing restraint. It is safest to keep a child in a booster until the child is 4 feet 9 inches tall, or at least age 8. Boosters raise children up so seat belts fit properly.

"With drunk, distracted and aggressive drivers on the road, everyone in the vehicle needs to be buckled up," says Donna Berger, director of the DPS Office of Traffic Safety. "The Click It or Ticket campaign encourages motorists to make safe, smart decisions to prevent deaths and injuries."

In a similar campaign last May, 12,639 motorists were cited.

There are around 120 unbelted traffic deaths each year in Minnesota. In the last three years in Minnesota, (2010-2012), there were 852 vehicle occupant traffic deaths of which 361 (42 percent) were not buckled up. Of the unbelted deaths, 84 percent were in Greater Minnesota and 42 percent were motorists ages 16-29.

Drivers, passengers -- including in the back seat -- must be belted

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.