Unbelted is Unsafe and Unwise on the Road. Click It and Live.Sep 18, 2022 06:56AM ● By Editor
From the Minnesota Department of Public Safety • September 19, 2022
Air bags and other safety improvements in today’s vehicles can help save lives on the road but their effectiveness depends on one simple step — buckling up. Without that step, lives are lost and families grieve an easily preventable tragedy. To help keep Minnesotans alive and prevent life-changing injuries, troopers, deputies and officers are participating in the Click It or Ticket statewide seat belt campaign Sept. 18-24.
The Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety (DPS-OTS) coordinates the enforcement, education and awareness campaign with funding provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The campaign includes extra patrols and advertising across Minnesota in support of the Toward Zero Deaths traffic safety program.
“Enforcement and education are effective traffic safety tools to help people realize that their decisions matter when it comes to life or death behind the wheel,” said DPS-OTS Director Mike Hanson. “Most Minnesotans buckle up— and it’s a lifesaver. Those who don’t need to think about how quickly the situation on the road can change. It could be the distracted driver suddenly veering toward you or that unseen patch of ice making your vehicle slide off the road and roll. Click it and live.”
Unbelted motorists contributed to a significant rise in traffic fatalities over the past two years. There are signs of improvement so far this year but even one life lost in a crash is one too many.
- Through Sept. 11, the 53 unbelted fatalities compare with 72 last year at this time, 66 in 2020 and 48 in 2019.
- Preliminary counts show 110 unbelted motorists died on Minnesota roads in 2021 compared with 105 in 2020 and 73 in 2019.
- The 110 unbelted deaths last year is the highest number since 2014.
- Seventy-seven percent of unbelted fatalities in 2021 occurred in greater Minnesota.
Severe crash injuries are going down in Minnesota. In 1987, there were 4,176 vehicle occupants who suffered severe injuries in traffic crashes, and the seat belt compliance rate was 36 percent for front seat occupants, according to the observational seat belt survey. The number of severe injuries dropped to 1,166 in 2021, and the seat belt compliance rate was measured at 92.4 percent.
Of the 14,692 children ages 0-7 who were properly restrained in Minnesota crashes from 2017 to 2021, 88 percent were not injured, while another 9 percent sustained only minor injuries.
All children must be in a child safety seat until they are 4' 9" tall, or at least 8 years old, whichever comes first.
- Rear-facing seats: All infants and toddlers should ride in a rear-facing car seat until they have reached the height and weight limits allowed by the car seat manufacturer. It is safest to keep children rear-facing up to the maximum weight limit of the car seat.
- Forward-facing seats with harness: Toddlers and preschool-age children who have reached the height and weight limits of the rear-facing car seat should use a forward-facing seat with harness until they reach the weight limit of the harness allowed by the car seat manufacturer.
- Booster seats: School-age children who have reached the height and weight limits of the forward-facing seat can sit on a booster seat. The booster must be used with a lap and shoulder belt.
- Seat belts: Buckling up with a seat belt is for children 8 years old or who have reached 4 feet 9 inches. Your children are ready for adult seat belts when they can sit with their back against the vehicle seat, knees bent comfortably and completely over the vehicle seat edge without slouching, and feet touching the floor.
Minnesota law states that all drivers and passengers must wear seat belts or be in the correct child restraint. Belts should be tight across the hips or thighs and should never be tucked under the arm or behind the back.