Letters: Law would tighten seatbelt use
Law would tighten seatbelt use On April 20, the Minnesota Senate passed a primary seat belt bill by a margin of two to one. The bill had strong bipartisan support. The vote came on the heels of a new study which confirms that unbelted traffic cra...
Law would tighten seatbelt use
On April 20, the Minnesota Senate passed a primary seat belt bill by a margin of two to one. The bill had strong bipartisan support. The vote came on the heels of a new study which confirms that unbelted traffic crash survivors incur dramatically higher hospital costs than those who are belted a shocking 94 percent higher, based on Minnesota data from 2002. Our government picked up the tab for more than $16 million in hospital charges that year. That is over and above private insurance and other payer sources.
Twenty-five other states have figured out that passing primary seat belt laws results in increased seat belt use - on average by about 11 percent. By upgrading Minnesota's seat belt law to primary enforcement, we'd see seat belt use jump to 94 percent almost immediately without costing the state one dime. We would save lives and reduce injuries. Minnesota would save almost $3.5 million a year in Medicaid costs alone. And we would receive $15 million in federal incentive money simply for passing a primary enforcement law.
Seventy-one percent of Minnesotans support a primary seat belt law. We urge members of the Minnesota House of Representative to join the Minnesota Senate in passing primary seat belt legislation. Take this simple action to save lives, prevent injuries and provide a common sense contribution to easing our health care cost crisis.
Carol A. Bufton
President, Minnesota Safety Council