"click it or ticket" seatbelt enforcement underway


The Minnesota State Patrol and southwest Minnesota law enforcement agencies are teaming up this week and next week for extra seatbelt patrols.

During the “Click it or Ticket” campaign from May 18-31, the Rock County Sheriff’s Office has committed 40 additional hours to seatbelt enforcement.

These efforts will combine with State Patrol seatbelt saturation efforts to encourage more seatbelt use in this part of the state.

Deputy Dallas Hamm is the Safe and Sober officer in Rock County. A seatbelt fine is more than $100, but he said it’s not about the money.

“We’re not out to take money out of your wallet,” Hamm said. “But we’ve seen too many crashes where people aren’t buckled, and we’ve seen the consequences.”

He said 50 percent of people in fatal crashes in southwest Minnesota are not buckled, and 80 percent of unbelted crashes are in rural Minnesota.

According to 2014 preliminary data, 86 percent of unbelted deaths occurred in greater Minnesota. Last year 14 unbelted motorists were killed and 20 were seriously injured in the south central Minnesota region.

Seat belts keep motorists in the vehicle’s designed protective space, giving them “room to live” in the event of a crash.

Hamm said it’s difficult to assist at a fatal crash knowing a seatbelt would have saved those lives.

The goal of the Click it or Ticket campaigns is to encourage more seatbelt use.

The cost of the additional manhours is covered through a grant from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety.

More information can be found at dps.mn.gov.

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