'Click It or Ticket' campaign is now under way
The Carlton County Sheriff's Office, in cooperation with the Cloquet Police Department, Fond du Lac Police Department, Moose Lake Police Department and the Thomson/Esko Police Department, will conduct enhanced patrols targeting seat belt use Oct....
The Carlton County Sheriff's Office, in cooperation with the Cloquet Police Department, Fond du Lac Police Department, Moose Lake Police Department and the Thomson/Esko Police Department, will conduct enhanced patrols targeting seat belt use Oct. 12-21. The statewide "Click It or Ticket" seat belt enforcement sweep includes over 400 Minnesota law enforcement agencies and mirrors a May effort that generated more than 12,000 seat belt citations.
In Minnesota in 2006, 494 vehicle occupants died in traffic crashes and 194 of those were not wearing seat belts. From 2002-2006 in Carlton County, 37 motorists died and 16 of those were unbelted. The estimated economic impact of the unbelted deaths is $17,450,000.
Teenagers are the group disproportionately represented in unbelted traffic deaths. In the last five years, 279 teen vehicle occupants ages 15-18 were killed and 166 were not belted. September of this year, three Esko teenage vehicle occupants were involved in a rollover traffic accident. Thanks to all three individuals wearing their seat belts, no one sustained permanent or life-threatening injuries. Teen crashes are a special concern to all of the agencies in Carlton County, now as school activities ramp up and teens make more road trips to football games and other events away from home. The Carlton County Safe & Sober grant team stresses that parents of teens set simple rules to ensure seat belt use, and that teens and their peers enforce those rules.
"Young drivers and passengers most often neglect to buckle up and, as a result, they are more often ejected and killed in crashes," said Deputy Dan Danielson. "If you're the driver, take control - don't start the car until everyone is buckled up."
Seat belt non-use is also a primary cause of traffic fatalities in non-metro regions of the state such as Carlton County. Nearly three-quarters of the state's traffic deaths and one-half of the serious injuries occurred on rural roads in 2005 - even through more than half the state's population resides in the seven-county Twin Cities metro area. Of 351 rural vehicle occupant traffic deaths in 2005, 185 were not wearing seat belts.
"Preventing traffic deaths on our roads comes down to making safe decisions," said Danielson. "The first step to driving Minnesota toward zero deaths is buckling up."