Editorial: Remember to buckle seat belts

Published 9:24 am Thursday, May 21, 2015

Memorial Day Weekend marks the unofficial start of summer. It’s often a big weekend to meet with family and friends and maybe even head out across the state to campgrounds or other outdoor recreational opportunities.

There will no doubt be lots of cars on the roads this weekend, and we urge you to buckle your seat belts every time and to practice safe driving.

Law enforcement officers across the state on Monday started an increased seat belt enforcement campaign and will continue through the end of the month. While most Minnesotans are making the right choice, the lack of seat belt use contributes to about half of all motorists killed each year.

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In a crash, odds are four times greater for injury if a motorist is not buckled up, according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety. Already this year 38 people who have chosen not to wear a seat belt have died in a crash in Minnesota — 13 in April and five in May alone, as of earlier this week.

The Department of Public Safety states 86 percent of unbelted deaths from 2014 occurred in Greater Minnesota. Sixty-seven percent of drunken drivers who were killed in crashes last year were not wearing a seat belt.

This weekend and every day, we encourage you to not be afraid to speak up to others who may be in your vehicle if you see them without a seat belt.

It could mean the difference in life and death.