Beltrami County To Participate In “Toward Zero Deaths” Program
Last year, 78 people were killed in Minnesota because they did not buckle their seat belt.
To remind motorists that seat belts save lives and that it’s the law to buckle up, the Beltrami County Sheriff’s Office and Bemidji Police Department, along with more than 300 law enforcement agencies across the state, will be participating in the statewide Click It or Ticket campaign Sept. 17-29.
Most Minnesotans are making the life-saving decision to buckle up. According to the 2018 Minnesota Seat Belt Survey, 92.4 percent of front seat occupants are wearing their seat belts. Unfortunately, that means more than 7 percent of motorists continue to risk their lives and the lives of those in the vehicle by failing to buckle up.
“We’ve heard the argument, ‘It should be my choice to buckle up,’” said Beltrami County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Ernie Beitel. “But before you decide not to wear that belt, think of those children who didn’t have the choice to live without their mother or father, or the spouse who will raise their children on their own, all because someone made the selfish choice to not wear their belt. You can’t choose who else is on the road with you, but you can choose to protect yourself by buckling up.”
An unbelted motorist can crash into a windshield and get thrown into other passengers. Oftentimes, an unbelted occupant is ejected from the vehicle and killed.
Drivers are in charge of their vehicles and the safety of their passengers. They can refuse to start the car until every passenger is belted. Passengers can also speak up if the driver is endangering everyone in the vehicle by not buckling up.
Minnesota law states that drivers and passengers in all seating positions must be buckled 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, and shoulder straps should never be tucked under an arm or behind the back.
The Click It or Ticket seat belt enforcement and education is a component of the state’s Toward Zero Deaths (TZD) program. 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, engineering, emergency medical and trauma response and everyone.