Minnesota Department of Public Safety:

Seatbelts save lives
Star Herald Editorial

We get a kick out of recalling the “good old days” of wrestling with our siblings in the back seat or sleeping in the rear window of the family sedan on long road trips.

And we survived to tell the tale. Well, most of us did.

In 1987 more than 4,000 people suffered severe injuries in traffic crashes. Today that number is roughly 1,000.

Why? Seatbelts.

Belted motorists often walk away from crashes that cause debilitating injuries or death for unbelted drivers or riders.

Seatbelts save lives.

That’s why more than 300 law enforcement agencies statewide participated in the “Click It or Ticket” extra enforcement and awareness campaign from Sept. 18-30.

During those two weeks officers, deputies and troopers reported 2,664 seat belt citations and 64 child seat violations (compared with 4,415 seat belt citations and 96 child seat violations during the 2019 campaign).

Their goal is to have everyone buckled, and the enforcement campaigns are designed to remind motorists that it’s for their own good and that seatbelts are required by law.

Minnesota law states that drivers and passengers in all seating positions must wear seat belts or be in the correct child restraint.

Officers can 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.

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.

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.

For more information, see dps.mn.gov.

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