May 19, 2017 08:20 PM
With 25 unbelted deaths on Minnesota roads already in 2017, law enforcement are gassing up for another two-week "Click It or Ticket" campaign.
Minnesotans are pretty good about buckling up. State Patrol data reports 93 percent of drivers do, which is higher than the national average 88.5 percent. Sgt. Neil Dickenson said their goal is 100 percent.
This year's campaign will run May 22-June 4, and police officers, state troopers and sheriff's deputies will work overtime hours for the specific purpose of ticketing people who aren't wearing seat belts.
"This is the warning that we're giving," Lt. Chad Nagorski with the Duluth Police Department said. "It's Click It or Ticket, not Click It or Warning. We want to make sure people understand that when we do these enforcement waves, that we're out there to cite people not wearing their seat belt, and we're warning them now that they need to do so."
Nagorski said they hear various excuses when they're out on the road.
"We've had people that have said that it's uncomfortable," Nagorski said. "What a lot of people do is they'll wear the seat belt, then they'll take the shoulder belt and put it behind them because they don't like the feeling of that, which reduces the effectiveness of the seat belt."
Hospitals want to see people wearing seat belts too. Emergency Medicine Physician Dr. Scott Wolff said he sees it as preventative care.
Wolff said the pattern of injury has "changed dramatically" since vehicles have been made safer.
"People unrestrained, no airbags, would have a lot of chest, abdominal trauma, trauma to the large vessels in the body like the aorta," Wolff said.
Airbags and seat belts protect those parts of the body.
"Now we see people with multiple long bone fractures, arms, legs, etcetera," Dr. Wolff said. "You still get hurt pretty bad, but your chance of surviving and living a meaningful life are much greater."
Plus, a seat belt should prevent you from being ejected in a crash, and Dr. Wolff said 80 percent of people who are ejected from cars end up dying.
Tickets for not wearing a seat belt cost $25, but added fees typically add up to more than $100.
Updated: May 19, 2017 08:20 PM
Created: May 19, 2017 05:40 PM
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