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Join the crowd: choose to buckle up to save yourself and your loved ones

Click It or Ticket seat belt campaign protects drivers and passengers across Minnesota

ST. PAUL — The excuses for not wearing a seat belt can really add up. So can the fatalities and serious injuries for those making the excuses. To keep that from happening, law enforcement statewide is participating in the Click It or Ticket campaign now through June 2.

Observational surveys in Minnesota consistently show more than 90 percent of front seat occupants wear seat belts. Troopers, deputies and officers want the small percentage of people who don’t wear them to stay safe by buckling up.

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) coordinates the enforcement and awareness campaign with funding provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The campaign includes overtime enforcement and advertising in support of the Toward Zero Deaths traffic safety program.

“We’re thankful most Minnesotans buckle up without giving it a second thought,” said OTS Director Mike Hanson. “If you don’t like being told to buckle up, think beyond yourself for one moment. The law is a lifesaver. Without it, the heartache felt by families across this state would be significantly higher.”

Excuses won’t save you in a crash

NHTSA shares concerns that some people may have with seat belts and what they need to know:

• Concern: I don’t need to buckle up because my car has air bags.

• What you need to know: Air bags are designed to work with seat belts, not replace them. If you’re unbuckled, the force of being thrown into a rapidly opening frontal air bag could injure or kill you.

• Concern: I don’t need to buckle up because I’m not going that fast or driving too far.

• What you need to know: Most fatal crashes happen within 25 miles from home and at speeds of less than 40 mph.

• Concern: I don’t want to buckle up because I could get trapped if my car is on fire or under water.

• What you need to know: Crashes involving fire or water represent ½ of 1 percent of all crashes. You can't escape from a crash unless you're conscious. Wearing a seat belt gives you a much greater chance of being conscious and able-bodied.

• Concern: My seat belt can hurt me in a crash.

• What you need to know: Everything in your car can potentially hurt you in a crash, but your seat belt is one of the few things that can save you. It is your first line of defense and last line of defense when something bad happens.

Obey the law to live and prevent serious injuries in a crash

• Minnesota law requires all drivers and passengers to wear seat belts or be in the correct child safety seat. Belts should be tight across the hips or thighs and should never be tucked under the arm or behind the back.

• Preliminary counts show 84 unbelted motorists died on Minnesota roads in 2023 compared with 87 in 2022 and 110 in 2021.

• In 1987, there were 4,176 vehicle occupants who suffered severe injuries in traffic crashes. That number was 1,285 last year.

Minnesota car seat law and steps

All children must be in a child safety seat until they are 4-feet, 9-inches tall or at least 8 years old, whichever comes first.

• Rear-facing seats: All infants and toddlers should ride in a rear-facing car seat until they have reached the height and weight limits allowed by the car seat manufacturer. It is safest to keep children rear-facing up to the maximum weight limit of the car seat.

• Forward-facing seats with harness: Toddlers and preschool-age children who have reached the height and weight limits of the rear-facing car seat should use a forward-facing seat with harness. They should use this seat until they reach the weight limit of the harness allowed by the car seat manufacturer.

• Booster seats: School-age children who have reached the height and weight limits of the forward-facing seat can sit on a booster seat. The booster must be used with a lap and shoulder belt.

• Seat belts: Buckling up with a seat belt is for children 8 years old or who have reached 4 feet, 9 inches. Your children are ready for adult seat belts 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.

About the Minnesota Department of Public Safety

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety’s 2,100 employees operate programs in the areas of law enforcement, crime victim assistance, traffic safety, alcohol and gambling, emergency communications, fire safety, pipeline safety, driver licensing, vehicle registration and emergency management. DPS activity is anchored by three core principles: education, enforcement and prevention.

About the Office of Traffic Safety

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) designs, implements and coordinates federally funded traffic safety enforcement and education programs to improve driver behaviors and reduce the deaths and serious injuries that occur on Minnesota roads. These efforts form a strong foundation for the statewide Toward Zero Deaths traffic safety program. OTS also administers state funds for the motorcycle safety program, child seats for needy families program and school bus stop arm camera project.

 

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