Click It Or Ticket campaign to target seat-belt scofflaws in Minneapolis

Click It or Ticket! This is the message being sent to all drivers, passengers and younger children in vehicles to buckle up or be in the correct child restraints to avoid a fine. Minneapolis Police Department and Minneapolis Park Police officers are ramping up enhanced Click It or Ticket seat belt patrols, including nighttime seat belt enforcement, through June 6. The campaign marks one year since the state’s primary seat belt law became effective June 9, 2009, allowing law enforcement to stop and ticket motorists solely for belt violations.

The primary law requires passengers in all seating positions, including the back seat, to be buckled up or seated in the correct child restraint. A seat belt fine is $25 but can cost more than $100 with court and administrative fees. The campaign will also include enforcement of Minnesota’s strengthened child passenger safety law that requires children to be in the correct restraint until they are age 8 and 4 feet 9 inches tall. This law requires booster seats for kids usually starting at age 4 to ensure adult seat belts fit them correctly.

Each year, unbelted motorists account for more than half of all vehicle occupants killed. Belt use is especially poor among teens and young adults. Statewide each year, motorists age 15–29 account for 45 percent of all unbelted deaths, yet this group represents only 25 percent of licensed drivers. This same age group also accounts for 55 percent of all unbelted serious injuries.

During 2006–2008 in Hennepin County, 102 motorists were killed in traffic crashes and 40 were not belted. Another 114 unbelted motorists were seriously injured. In a recent pre-enforcement seat belt observational survey in Minneapolis, 88 percent of motorists were belted. During the same period, statewide 1,097 motorists were killed in crashes of which 539 were unbelted and 1,152 unbelted motorists were seriously injured.

Around 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 response.

Published May. 28, 2010