Sunday, May 29, 2016


A Le Sueur County Deputy, a mother of two from Montrose and two teenagers from Buffalo and Red Wing all come from different walks of life, yet they all have one thing in common: a seat belt saved their life. While the majority of Minnesotans are choosing to buckle up, the Minnesota Department of Public Safety is asking the rest to join the crowd.
To continue enforcing the law and reminding motorists that seat belts save lives, more than 300 law enforcement agencies across the state will participate in the Click It or Ticket campaign May 23 – June 5. The extra enforcement and education campaign is coordinated by the Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety.
Saved by the Belt
There are real stories of survival from motorists who took three seconds out of their day to buckle up. Recent lives saved include:
·         Le Sueur County Deputy David Struckman who was on his way home from work when he was hit by another motorist. "I know without the seat belt being in place and secured, I would have been ejected from my squad car," said Struckman. "I have lost hearing from the crash and my ears will ring the rest of my life, but I would not be here today to tell my story if I made the stupid choice to not wear my belt."
·         Josh Kramber who was 11-years-old when he decided to make the life-saving decision to buckle up. "I would have never guessed that a piece of cloth would save my life." said Kramber. "It is insane to think that I would not be here today if that piece of cloth was never invented. Seat belts are like insurance, you never know when they will save your life."
·         Stephanie Korbel who correctly buckled up her two children and nephew before putting on a seat belt herself. "Making sure my children and loved ones are safe is a top priority," said Stephanie Korbel. "Prior to the crash, I actually pulled over and readjusted the kids' seat belts because I did not feel they were properly secured. Just minutes later, the crash occurred. Had I not taken the time to re-secure the children and buckle up myself, it could have turned out much worse."
·         Kianna Stewart who was 17-years-old when she fell asleep at the wheel and rolled her vehicle. "I could have died that night," said Stewart. "A seat belt is a decision that could save your life, if I wasn't wearing mine, I don't think I would be here to tell people to put one on. I don't think I would have had a chance to survive."
Kianna is featured in the Department of Public Safety's seat belt advertisement campaign. (15-second, 30-second)
Join the Crowd — seat belt use remains high statewide but more can be buckling up
·         The 2015 Minnesota Seat Belt Survey shows 94 percent compliance for front seat occupants.
·         Severe injuries are going down — in 1987, there were 4,176 vehicle occupants who suffered severe injuries in traffic crashes. That number dropped to 745 in 2015.
·         Wearing your seat belt will help keep you from:
o   Crashing into the windshield.
o   Slamming into and injuring other passengers.
o   Being ejected from the vehicle.
Protect Yourself from Dangerous Drivers
Even the safest drivers are not immune from others causing them to crash, and not wearing a seat belt can prove tragic.
·         In 2015, 91 unbelted motorists lost their lives on Minnesota roads.
·         In the last five years (2011 – 2015), 527 unbelted motorists lost their lives and 1,035 people suffered life-changing injuries.
·         Of the 1,379 motorists who lost their lives in the last five years (2011 – 2015), only 51 percent of them were known to be belted.
·         In 2015, 77 percent of vehicle occupants who were ejected or partially ejected and died were not wearing a seat belt.
"We may trust our own driving abilities, but we're all vulnerable to the dangerous driving habits of others," said Donna Berger, Office of Traffic Safety director. "Protect yourself and your family by buckling up — every seat, every time." 
Border to Border Challenge
To kick off the Click It or Ticket campaign, Minnesota law enforcement is participating in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's Border to Border Challenge. The nationwide seat belt enforcement effort will include more than 20 states and will focus on seat belt violations from 6 – 10 p.m. on May 23. Nationally, numbers show a higher percentage of people who died in crashes overnight were not buckled up compared to fatalities during daytime hours.  
It's the Law
Minnesota law states that drivers and passengers in all seating positions must be buckled up or seated in the correct child restraint. 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.
Minnesota Child Car Seat Law
  • In Minnesota, all children must be in a child restraint until they are 4'9" tall, or at least age 8, whichever comes first.
  • Rear-facing child seats - Newborns to at least 1 year and 20 pounds.
Choosing the Right Seat
·         Rear-facing child seats – recommended up to age 2. It is safest to keep a child rear-facing as long as possible.
  • Forward-facing seats - Age 2 until around age 4. It's preferable to keep children in a harnessed restraint until they reach the maximum weight limit.
  • Booster seats - Use after outgrowing a forward-facing harnessed restraint; safest to remain in a booster until 4 feet 9 inches tall, or at least age 8, whichever comes first. 
  • Seat belts - Use when children can sit with their back against the seat and have their knees bent comfortably over the edge with their feet touching the floor.
About the Minnesota Department Public Safety
The Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) comprises 11 divisions where 2,100 employees operate programs in the areas of law enforcement, crime victim assistance, traffic safety, alcohol and gambling, emergency communications, fire safety, pipeline safety, driver licensing, vehicle registration and emergency management. DPS activity is anchored by three core principles: education, enforcement and prevention.
About the Office of Traffic Safety
The Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety (DPS-OTS) designs, implements and coordinates federally funded traffic safety enforcement and education programs to improve driver behaviors and reduce the deaths and serious injuries that occur on Minnesota roads. DPS-OTS also administers state funds for the motorcycle safety program and for the child seats for needy families program.
DPS-OTS is an anchoring partner of the state's Toward Zero Deaths (TZD) traffic safety program. A primary vision of the TZD program is to create a safe driving culture in Minnesota in which motorists support a goal of zero road fatalities by practicing and promoting safe and smart driving behavior. TZD focuses on the application of four strategic areas to reduce crashes – education, enforcement, engineering, and emergency medical and trauma response.
Recent DPS-OTS Activity and Statistics
·         More than 30 Minnesota organizations in April joined the Department of Public Safety and statewide law enforcement in calling for employees and all drivers to choose safety over texting and to eliminate distracted driving.
·         Police officers, sheriff deputies and state patrol troopers participated in the April extra enforcement distracted driving campaign, handing out 972 citations to drivers for texting while driving. That's up from 909 citations during last year's campaign.
·         "Locked Up: A DWI Booking," gives you an inside look at the DWI booking process. Being arrested for a DWI involves more than just getting a ticket.

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