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Seat-belt use on the rise

Goodhue County Sheriff’s deputies and Red Wing police join Red Wing High School students in stenciling “Buckle up” on school exits earlier this month as part of a statewide Click It or Ticket campaign. (Photo provided by Ashlyn Christianson, Goodhue County Health and Human Services)

More Minnesota drivers and passengers are buckling up than ever before, according to a Minnesota Department of Public Safety survey released last week.

The state saw a 94.8 percent seat belt use rate over the past year, up more than 15 percent since 2003, according to the DPS Office of Traffic Safety.

Figures show the number of unbelted deaths on Minnesota roadways has decreased steadily since 1986, the year the first statewide seat belt law was passed.

Department officials credit the increase in seat belt use to awareness campaigns like the statewide Click It or Ticket initiative, which ended Saturday.

Organizations and businesses across Goodhue County participated in the campaign, including posting “Buckle Up” and “Click It or Ticket” messages on marquees and signs at the request of Red Wing Fire Department.

Goodhue County Sheriff’s Office and Health and Human Services department also worked with students at Red Wing High School and Twin Bluff Middle School to stencil seat belt reminders on school driveways.

There were 11 unbelted vehicle occupant deaths in Goodhue County from 2008 to 2012, according to DPS statistics.

Increased enforcement following the state’s 2009 primary seat belt law also played a factor in growing seat belt use, officials said.

DPS observed more than 16,000 vehicle occupants at 240 sites around the state to conduct the survey.

State law requires everyone to either be buckled or in proper child restraints, otherwise authorities can stop a vehicle and issue tickets to both drivers and passengers.

Michael Brun

Michael Brun joined RiverTown Multimedia at the Red Wing Republican Eagle in March 2013, covering county government, health and local events.  He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-River Falls journalism program.

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