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Seatbelts are a crime prevention tool

Posted in Crime Prevention June 26th, 2008 @ 8:30 am

It isn’t a crime not to wear your seatbelt in Minnesota. It isn’t a primary offense if you aren’t wearing a seatbelt it is only a secondary offense. Police officers cannot pull you over if you aren’t wearing a seatbelt.

But it IS a crime when you see people thrown from their cars in an accident and die on the highway.

This year, Minnesota police added patrols during the statewide Click It or Ticket seatbelt enforcement sweep. Minnesota law does require any occupant in the front seat to be buckled in as well as any occupant under the age of 11. More than 400 cities across the state participated in this nationwide crime prevention campaign.

When statistics show that wearing a seatbelt saves lives, why wouldn’t you take a second to wear a seatbelt? Take for instance the preliminary data from the state of Colorado who has the most aggressive seatbelt education. Statistics show the number of unbelted drivers and passengers who died on Colorado roadways dropped to an all-time low in 2007. Last year, 206 people who were not buckled up were killed in crashes. This is out of a total of 389 drivers and passengers who died. The percentage of unrestrained occupants killed was also the lowest on record at 53%. By comparison, in 2002, the first year of Click It or Ticket enforcement in Colorado, 380 people died unbuckled, representing 67% of the total number of drivers and passengers killed.

Because of Minnesota’s Click it or Ticket program this year, 81 percent of front seat occupants were wearing their seatbelts. That is an increase of four percent from last year. Did you know that most accidents occur within one mile of your home? So even if you are just driving to the local grocery store, make sure that everyone in your car is buckled up. You can help save lives by wearing your seatbelt.

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