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Nation's largest seat belt enforcement blitz

Officers, deputies and troopers around Minnesota will be working together along with more than 10,000 officers nationwide during the now annual Click It or Ticket seat belt and child passenger seat enforcement blitz from May 21 to June 3, said a press release sent to the Pioneer Journal. State Patrol Regional Public Information Officer Sgt. Jesse Grabow expressed the importance of the blitz,

"We would rather meet you on the shoulder of the road now than down the road at a violent crash scene later," he said.

During the blitz, officers will be stopping and citing drivers and passengers (including back seat passengers) who are not buckled up correctly. In Minnesota, persons age 15 and older will receive their own citation for the violation, while drivers will be held responsible for those under age 15.

"Even though Minnesota has enjoyed a recent record high daytime seat belt use rate of 93 percent, each year in Minnesota more than half of the vehicle occupants killed in crashes are not buckled up," Grabow said. "These preventable deaths and injuries cost our communities greatly in medical assistance, emergency response costs and increased insurance premiums. In the event of a crash, unbelted motorists often slam into their passenger, causing serious injury and even death. Every Minnesotan pays for the costs of these crashes."

The Click It or Ticket seat belt enforcement and education is a component of the state's Toward Zero Death (TZD) initiative. 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 and emergency trauma response.