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Our Opinion: Wear your seatbelt

Through June 6, law enforcement around the state will be conducting increased seat belt patrols in the face of a high number of deaths already this year due to lack of use.

For whatever reasons, these deaths attributed to not using a seat belt have been rising in recent years and this year is no different. According to a press release from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, preliminary reports show 38 unbelted motorists died as of May 21. This is compared to 25 at this time last year, which saw a total of 112 unbelted motorists die.

That number in turn is up from 73 in 2019.

We can’t know why people are going without seatbelts. Maybe it’s because they are going just a short ways and don’t see a need. Maybe everyday life is distracting. Whatever the reason, though, it’s important to remember there is no set schedule for tragedy.

Even a short jog to a store a couple blocks away can result in severe injury or worse. The answer is easy: wear your seatbelt. It takes just a few seconds to strap-in, but it could be years to recover from an accident if you don’t.

Office of Traffic Safety Director Mike Hanson said it significantly if not bluntly.

“Would you like a lecture or a eulogy?”

The answer seems as simple as buckling up.