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Law enforcement issues over 4K citations during seatbelt enforcement period

During the two-week extra enforcement campaign from Sept. 16-28, officers, deputies and troopers reported 4,415 seat belt citations and 96 child seat violations throughout Minnesota. This number is down from 4,610 seat belt citations and 140 child seat violations during the 2018 campaign.

More than 300 law enforcement agencies statewide participated in the Click It or Ticket campaign. The Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety coordinated the enhanced enforcement and education efforts and provided federal funds from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for extra patrols.

In the Twin Cities metro area, the St. Paul Police Department issued 402 citations, the most seat belt citations issued by any department. Minnesota State Patrol, District 2700, based in Duluth, issued 229 citations, the most of any Greater Minnesota department. Minnesota State Patrol, District 2100, based in Rochester, issued 202.

Minnesota law states that drivers and passengers in all seating positions must be buckled up or seated in the correct child safety seat. Officers will stop and ticket unbelted drivers or passengers. Seat belts must be worn correctly: low and snug across the hips, and shoulder straps should never be tucked under an arm or behind the back.

The 2019 Minnesota Seat Belt Survey shows 93.4 percent compliance for front seat occupants.

In Minnesota, all children must be in a child restraint until they are 4 feet 9 inches tall, or at least age 8, whichever comes first. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that 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. Toddlers and preschoolers 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.

School-age children who have reached the height and weight limits of the forward-facing seat should sit on a booster seat. The booster must be used with a lap and shoulder belt. Children over 8 years old or who have reached 4 feet, 9 inches tall should wear a seat belt. It is recommended to keep a child in a booster seat based on their size rather than their age.

Your child is ready for an adult seat belt 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. It is recommended that children under the age of 13 ride in the back seat to prevent airbag-related injuries or death.