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Hubbard County cites 27 during October seat belt enforcement

The Hubbard County Sheriff’s Office cited 27 unbelted drivers from Oct. 4-19 as part of a Click It or Ticket seat belt education and enforcement campaign.

More than 360 unbelted motorists were killed in the last three years (2010-12) in Minnesota, representing 42 percent of the total motorist deaths, according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety. In Hubbard County during this time period, two unbelted motorists were killed and three were seriously injured. Of the 361 motorists killed in unbelted deaths during 2010-12, 152 (42 percent) were motorists ages 16-29.

During the campaign the Hubbard County Sheriff’s Office added 8 additional shifts were patrol deputies exclusively looked for unbelted drivers in Hubbard County. Drivers were stopped when found not wearing their seat belts and other violations of speeding and registration were also enforced. Over 36 citations were issued, 27 of which were for no seat belt.

Also during the Click It or Ticket seat belt education and enforcement campaign, a stolen motor vehicle was recovered and drugs and drug paraphernalia were located and seized by deputies.

“Seat belt compliance is at record high levels but we are still seeing some motorists that do not buckle up,” said Deputy Brian Halbasch. “We are encouraging that motorists be the true enforcers of the law.”

Drivers, passengers – including in the back seat – must be belted

In Minnesota, drivers and passengers in all seating positions, including in the back seat, are required to 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; shoulder straps should never be tucked under an arm or behind the back.

The importance of buckling up

In rollover crashes; unbelted motorists are usually ejected from the vehicle. In most cases, the vehicle will roll over them. Often, unbelted motorists will crack teeth out on steering wheels or break their nose, and even slam into and injure or kill others in the vehicle. In a crash, odds are six times greater for injury if a motorist is not buckled up.

Minnesota child car seat law and steps

Minnesota statute requires children under age 8 to ride in a federally approved car seat or booster, unless the child is 4 feet 9 inches or taller. Here are the restraint steps a child should progress through as they age and grow:

- Rear-facing infant seats – Newborns to at least 1 year and 20 pounds and recommended up to age 2. It is safest to keep a child rear-facing as long as possible.

- Forward-facing toddler seats – Age 2 until age 4. It’s preferable to keep children in a harnessed restraint as long as possible.

- Booster seats – Use once a child has outgrown a forward-facing harnessed restraint; safest to remain in a booster until 4 feet 9 inches tall, or at least age 8.

- Seat belts – A child is ready for an adult seat belt 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. Children 4 feet 9 inches tall or taller can correctly fit in a lap/shoulder belt.

Toward Zero Deaths

The Click It or Ticket seat belt enforcement and education is a component of the state’s Toward Zero Deaths (TZD) initiative. 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.