Rochester, MN (KROC-AM News)- 1,164 motorists were cited for seatbelt violations during a statewide “click it or ticket” enforcement effort in Minnesota last month. 

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The Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) says law enforcement also issued 27 citations for violations of the state’s child seat law. The Olmsted County Sheriff’s Office was one of 281 law enforcement agencies to partake in the enforcement and education campaign that ran from September 18-24. 

Olmsted County Sheriff's Office photo
Olmsted County Sheriff's Office photo

Olmsted County deputies stopped over 300 motorists during the campaign and cited two drivers for being out of compliance with the state’s seatbelt. Troopers in the State Patrol’s Southeast Minnesota District issued 61 tickets for seatbelt violations, the second most among the agency’s five non-metro districts:

  • Minnesota State Patrol – District 2700 (Duluth) – 83
  • Minnesota State Patrol – District 2100 (Rochester) – 61
  • Minnesota State Patrol – District 3100 (Virginia) – 56
  • Minnesota State Patrol – District 2600 (St. Cloud) – 45
  • Minnesota State Patrol – District 2900 (Detroit Lakes) – 43
  • Mankato Department of Public Safety – 28

The DPS says 61 unbelted motorists died on Minnesota roads between January 1 and October 2 of this year. That’s the lowest death toll for that time since 2019.

Related: Minnesota's Crackdown on Speeding Leads to Nearly 19,000 Tickets

Officials offered some notable traffic stops that occurred during the crackdown. One involved a woman driving on a southeast Minnesota highway with a child on her lap: 

  • Lonsdale police stopped a vehicle on Highway 19 because a toddler was sitting on the lap of the parent driving. The driver was cited for no child restraints in the vehicle. An officer gave the other parent a ride home to get a vehicle equipped with a child restraint.
  • A trooper working in the Duluth district stopped a driver for no seat belt. The driver ended up being arrested for DWI.
  • A stop by North Branch police for a seat belt violation resulted in a felony controlled substance arrest. They found 20 grams of marijuana wax along with 88 grams of marijuana in the vehicle.
  • St. Paul police stopped a vehicle for a seat belt violation. It was the fifth year in a row the officer stopped that driver during the seat belt campaign. All five stops were at the same intersection for the same violation. Wouldn’t more than $100 in fines be better spent at a concert, sporting event, dinner with a friend, or a day trip?

Officials also offered clarity and safety tips when it comes to making sure children are in the right car seat: 

  • Rear-facing seats: All infants and toddlers should ride in a rear-facing car seat until they have reached the height and weight limits allowed by the car seat manufacturer.
  • Forward-facing seats with harness: Toddlers and preschool-age children who have reached the height and weight limits of the rear-facing car seat should use a forward-facing seat with harness until they reach the weight limit of the harness allowed by the car seat manufacturer.
  • Booster seats: School-age children who have reached the height and weight limits of the forward-facing seat can sit on a booster seat. The booster must be used with a lap and shoulder belt.
  • Seat belts: Buckling up with a seat belt is for children 8 years old or who have reached 4 feet 9 inches. Your children are ready for adult seat belts when they can sit with their back against the vehicle seat, knees bent comfortably and completely over the seat edge without slouching, and feet touching the floor.

A news release says the campaign included enforcement, education and awareness. Officials say the goal of the week-long effort was to influence smart seatbelt choices.

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