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NEWS RELEASE

Bruce Gordon, Director of Communications
CONTACT:
Dawn Duffy  651-201-7571
dawn.duffy@state.mn.us
 
 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 19, 2014
Click It or Ticket 41 Percent of Motorists Killed in Last Five Years Were Not Buckled
Extra Enforcement and Education for Seat Belt and Car Seats May 19 to June 1
​ST. PAUL – Even though most Minnesotans buckle up, 587 people died and 9,739 were injured in the last five years on Minnesota roads as a result of not being belted. That’s why nearly 400 Minnesota law enforcement agencies are adding extra patrols during the Click It or Ticket campaign May 19-June 1, according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety (DPS/OTS)
 
“There are far too many preventable deaths and life-altering injuries occurring on our roads,” said Donna Berger, OTS director. “In the next two weeks, you’ll see and hear our seat belt safety messages throughout the state. Buckle up – it’s the law and it’s your best defense in case of a crash.”
 
A record-number of Minnesotans use their seat belts (94.8 percent), but a significant number (41.3 percent) of motor vehicle occupants who were killed in the last five years (2009-2013) were not wearing seat belts. In 2013 alone, 94 people died and 1,668 were injured who were not buckled up.
 
On average, three of four child seats are not used correctly. Included in the 2009-2013 statistics are eight children under age 8 who were killed and another 1,105 injured because they were not properly restrained in car seats.
 
Data from 2009-2013 also shows:
  • More than 40 percent (237 of 587) of unbelted fatalities were between 15 to 29 years old.
  • Nearly 64 percent (190 of 298) of drinking drivers killed were not wearing a seat belt.
  • Nearly 44 percent (474 of 1,084) of those killed in greater Minnesota crashes were unbelted compared to 33 percent (113 of 339) in the seven-county metro area.
Minnesota Seat Belt Law
Minnesota’s seat belt law is a primary offense, meaning drivers and passengers in all seating positions must be buckled up or in the correct child restraint. A seat belt ticket can cost between $25 to more than $100.
 
Minnesota Child Passenger Safety and Booster Seat Law
Children under age 13 should always ride in the back seat. A child who is both under age 8 and shorter than 4 feet 9 inches is required to be fastened in a child safety seat or booster seat that meets federal safety standards. Under this law, a child cannot use a seat belt alone until they are age 8 or 4 feet 9 inches tall – whichever comes first. It is recommended to keep a child in a booster based on their height, rather than their age. Learn more about child passenger safety and the booster seat law.
 
About the Minnesota Department Public Safety
DPS comprises 11 divisions where 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
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. OTS also administers state funds for the motorcycle safety program and for the child seats for needy families program.
 
OTS is an anchoring partner of the state’s Toward Zero Deaths (TZD) traffic safety initiative.
 
Recent OTS Activity and Statistics
  • To-date, there have been 98 traffic deaths, two more than this time last year.
  • Final reports on enhanced enforcement for distracted driving during April 11-20 reported 827 texting citations from 308 law enforcement agencies.
  • In a continuing effort to advance traffic safety in Minnesota, DPS awarded new federal grants totaling more than $8.5 million for regional partners to support overtime traffic safety enforcement and educational efforts through September 2014.
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445 Minnesota Street, Suite 100 | Saint Paul, Minnesota 55101-5155 | dps.mn.gov