Minneapolis Police Department to participate in state-wide seat belt enforcement effort

Minneapolis Police and Minneapolis Park Police officers will conduct enhanced Click It or Ticket seat belt patrols October 9th through 22nd in 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 backseat, 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. A seat belt citation is $25 but can run as much as $115 with court and administrative fees.

Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) reports that during 2006–2008, 1,097 motorists were killed in crashes and that of those killed 539 were unbelted. Another 1,152 unbelted motorists were seriously injured. In Hennepin County, of the 38 motorists who were killed 17 were not belted and another 161 unbelted motorists were seriously injured.

Law enforcement will further focus their enforcement efforts toward special nighttime seat belt enforcement patrols. Minnesota Department of Public Safety 2006–2008 data shows 277 motorists were killed from 9 p.m. to 3 a.m. and of those killed 178 (64 percent) were not belted.

The Minneapolis Police and Minneapolis Park Police Departments are also concerned about belt use among teens and young adults. These groups are least likely to buckle up and 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 with 70 percent occurring in greater Minnesota.

In a similar seat belt enforcement effort last May, the Minneapolis Police Department issued 146 seat belt citations.

Approximately 400 law enforcement agencies statewide will participate in the effort coordinated by DPS as a component of the states Toward Zero Death ( TZD) initiative. TZD is a multi-agency approach to address traffic issues regionally through enforcement, education, engineering and emergency trauma care.

October 8, 2009

Published Oct 8, 2009