Extra seat belt enforcement in effect through Nov. 29

Published 6:50 am Wednesday, November 18, 2020

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Beginning Monday, Nov. 16, over 300 law enforcement agencies across Minnesota will be enforcing the seat belt law and reminding motorists to drive smart during the Click It or Ticket campaign running through Nov. 29.

The extra enforcement period is funded by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety (DPS-OTS).

“As Minnesotans, we pride ourselves on being responsible,” said DPS-OTS Director Mike Hanson. “The 93.4 percent of front seat occupants wearing their seat belts in our state is amongst the highest in the country. But for some reason, we’re slipping back into deadly, old habits. With traffic fatalities on the rise, now is not the time to be complacent. Failing to buckle up, even one time, could lead to a lifetime of regret and heartache. A seat belt is your best defense when another driver makes a mistake. Protect yourself and protect your passengers! Drive smart and buckle up so you can come home to your loved ones at the end of the day.”

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Between Jan. 1 and Nov. 1, 2020, preliminary reports show 85 unbelted motorists died on Minnesota roads this year, compared with 61 this time last year.

Minnesota law states that drivers and passengers in all seating positions must wear seat belts or be in the correct child restraint. Officers will ticket unbelted drivers or passengers. Occupants must correctly wear seat belts low and snug across the hips, and they should never tuck straps under an arm or behind the back.

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. Minnesota child restraint laws apply as follows:

• 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.

• Forward-facing seats with harness – 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.

• Booster seats – School-age children who have reached the height and weight limits of the forward-facing seat can sit on a booster seat. It must be used with a lap and shoulder belt.

• Seat belts – Children 8 years old or have reached 4 feet 9 inches tall can buckle up with seat belts. 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.

In crashes from 2015 – 2019, of the 17,055 children ages 0-7 that were properly restrained, 87 percent were not injured while another 10 percent sustained only possible injuries, according to the DPS-OTS.