“Toward Zero Deaths” Campaign Continues on Minnesota Roads

Extra seat belt enforcement will run May 20-June 2.

DULUTH, Minn.- State patrol and local law enforcement will begin issuing extra seat belt enforcement citations on Minnesota roads starting Monday, May 20.

The Northland is no stranger to these extra seat belt enforcement periods.

The ‘Toward Zero Deaths’ campaign has been happening for a while and has raised the seat belt percentage overall. but state patrol said they won’t be happy until they see 100 percent of Minnesota drivers wearing them.

In 2018, there was a 92 percent seat belt use rate among Minnesota drivers.

That number falls to only 87 percent of drivers in the Northeast region of the state.

State patrol said these numbers are higher than what they’ve seen in the past, but they’re not high enough.

They say most crashes that aren’t deadly could quickly turn fatal if a seat belt wasn’t being used.

“It’s not about the fines, it’s not about giving a price or a fee that you have to pay, that’s not what it’s about. That’s the way we work it, that’s a citation for the seat belt violation, but in all reality, we just want to see everyone wearing their seat belt,” state patrol Capt. Charles Lemon said.

It’s commonly thought that more crashes happen during the Winter months, especially with the conditions in the Northland, but Summer is the deadliest time for drivers.

Law enforcement says that although wearing a seat belt won’t stop an accident, it’s the best form of defense if one were to happen.

“We just passed a hundred deaths on Minnesota roads so far this year, and so when we’re thinking about the deadliest days to come, we don’t want to have those deaths occur, we don’t want people to lose their friends, their family, their community members,” ‘Toward Zero Deaths’ regional coordinator Holly Kostrzewski said.

It’s been a decade since Minnesota passed their primary seat belt law requiring drivers to buckle up on the road. Officials say they have seen a significant decrease in un-belted crashes since that law was passed.

The extra seat belt enforcement period will run May 20 to June 2.

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