370 motorists ticketed during Minneapolis’ CLICK IT OR TICKET enforcement effort

During the statewide Click It or Ticket enforcement effort, May 24–June 6, the Minneapolis Police and the Minneapolis Park Police Departments generated 370 seat belt and 5 child restraint citations. More than 400 law enforcement agencies statewide participated in the Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) coordinated enforcement effort aimed at increasing seat belt and child restraint use among motorists.

The campaign was the first major enforcement of the primary seat belt law this year, and marks the one year anniversary of it becoming effective on June 9, 2009. 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. A seat belt fine is $25 but can cost more than $100 with court and administrative fees.

The campaign also included 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.

Special night time seatbelt patrols conducted during the campaign resulted in 52 citations. MPD focused on night patrols to combat a disproportionate number of unbelted traffic deaths during night time hours. During 2006–2008, 64 percent of night time (9 p.m. – 3 a.m.) fatal crash victims were not wearing seat belts.

The Minneapolis Police Department conducted a seat belt observational survey prior to the seat belt enforcement in Minneapolis, and reported 89 percent of motorists were belted. In a post-enforcement survey, belt use jumped to 92 percent.

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 ages 15–29 account for 45 percent of all unbelted deaths, yet this group represents only 25 percent of licensed drivers. This same age group accounts for 55 percent of all unbelted serious injuries.

During 2006–2008 in Hennepin County, 102 motorists were killed and 40 of those killed were not belted. Another 114 unbelted motorists were seriously injured.

The Click It or Ticket enforcement effort is a component of the state’s Toward Zero Deaths (TZD) initiative. TZD is a multi-agency approach to address traffic issues regionally through enforcement, education, engineering and emergency trauma care.

Published Jun 15, 2010