It’s ‘Click It or Ticket’ season again in Minnesota

Published 10:36 am Thursday, May 22, 2014

By Albert Lea Tribune

Albert Lea police began increased patrols on Monday as part of a statewide enforcement campaign to encourage motorists to buckle up.

In the last five years on Minnesota roads, 1,423 people died in motor vehicle crashes, of which 587 were not wearing their seat belts, according to a news release.

Email newsletter signup

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety stated in the last five years, more than 40 percent of unbelted fatalities were between 15 and 29 years old. Nearly 64 percent of drunken drivers who were killed were not wearing a seat belt, and nearly 44 percent of people killed in crashes in Greater Minnesota were unbelted.

“Every year, teens and young adults represent a large percentage of unbelted traffic deaths, which indicates there is still a major issue with seat belt usage among that age group,” said Albert Lea Police Lt. Jeff Strom. “For whatever reason — be it comfort, restriction or philosophy — some motorists and passengers still refuse to wear their seat belts. We ask them to remember that their minor inconvenience could turn out to be a major life saver.”

In Minnesota, drivers and passengers in all seating positions, including in the back seat, are required to be buckled up or seated in the correct child restraint. Seat belts should be worn low and snug across the hips, and shoulder straps should never be tucked under an arm or behind the back, according to the release.

Statute requires children under age 8 to ride in a federally approved car seat or booster, unless the child is 4 feet 9 inches or taller.

The Police Department is among nearly 400 agencies increasing patrols, under the slogan “Click It or Ticket.” The enforcement runs through June 1.

“We want motorists to be the true enforcers of the law and speak up to remind others to belt up,” Strom said. “The last thing we care to do is write seat belt tickets.”