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The Importance Of Seat Belt Laws And How They Save Lives
Today, the seat belt serves to protect drivers and passengers from injury during any type of collision. The concept came about from inventor George Cayley back in the early 19th century. The goal of the belt was to secure a person to a moving object and was often used for fireman and painters to provide an extra level of protection. In the 1950′s, Dr. C. Hunter Shelden took the seat belt to a new level by researching the injuries and fatalities that were happening with the current restraint systems. He introduced a retractable version that made more sense.
Around this same time, Congress began passing legislation surrounding safety features in vehicles. In the United States, a New York State law in 1984 marked the first legislation requiring individuals in the front seat to have on a seat belt while operating a vehicle. Today, every state has some type of law that makes it an offense to not be wearing a seat belt and the penalty varies from one area to the next. There is no doubt that seat belts and the legislation surrounding them saves lives.
Vehicle accidents are the number one cause of death for individuals as young as five and as old as 34. Aside from the fatalities, many people suffer serious injuries as a result of the incidents. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, seat belts reduce the risk of death in vehicle accidents by around 50%. Safe driving tips, like encouraging drivers to put on a seat belt, have the ability to protect drivers and passengers. Read more...
"CLICK IT OR TICKET” Saved a Life….
Jake Wingen, center, attended the MOD Squad briefing for the Safe & Sober Seat Belt Enforcement kick off to tell his story about how “Click It or Ticket” saved his life.
Last December (2009) Jake Wingen, age 17, was a passenger in a vehicle with four other high school students going home after a volleyball game in Faribault. They heard sirens and lights flashing behind them. The Minnesota State Patrol was pulling them over because the driver was observed without a seat belt. The Trooper realized that no one in the vehicle was wearing a seat belt and the Trooper then gave them each a seat belt ticket. That ticket ended up saving Jake’s life.
Just three weeks later, on January 21, Jake was a passenger in an SUV with 3 friends. They were headed out on Hwy. 60 by Morristown in the late afternoon. It was snowing with poor visibility when the driver spun out on an icy patch of pavement and hit another vehicle head on. The SUV he was a passenger in rolled. The next thing Jake remembers is lots of lights. He was cut out of his seat belt and transported to District One Hospital with severe injuries. Two of his buddies, the driver and another passenger were also at the hospital. Jake was later transported to North Memorial Hospital, but not by air ambulance because the weather was so bad it couldn’t fly. The fourth passenger in the SUV was not wearing a seat belt and he was ejected out of the vehicle in the rollover and was killed. Jake survived that fatal crash because he was wearing his seat belt. The first officer at the scene, strangely enough, was the Trooper that had ticketed Jake in December.
These two events made a big impression on Jake and when he was asked if he would talk to the law enforcement officers before they went out on a “Click It or Ticket” Saturation Patrol he agreed even though he was nervous about speaking. At the briefing Jake told the officers, “I didn’t usually wear my seat belt. I wasn’t very good about it, but after I got the ticket, and paid over $100, I started buckling up. That ticket saved my life.” This presentation was to reaffirm to law enforcement how important the job they are doing with the Click It or Ticket patrol. Lives ARE saved with a ticket.
. The MOD Squad includes Minnesota State Patrol, Rice County Sheriff’s Office, and Dundas, Faribault, Lonsdale, Morristown, and Northfield Police Departments. Minnesota state law requires the driver and passengers in all seating positions to be buckled up or seated in the correct child restraint.
Bruce Gordon, Director of Communications
Nathan Bowie (651) 201-7571
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 30, 2013
Ejected: Half of Unbelted Traffic Deaths Thrown from Vehicle
Click It or Ticket Seat Belt Enforcement on the Roads through June 2
ST. PAUL — More than half of the state’s unbelted traffic deaths are ejected from the vehicle, according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) Office of Traffic Safety. Officials say the high ejection rate is another reason to belt up as motorists drive into the final weekend of statewide Click It Or Ticket enforcement. Since the start of the campaign May 20, more than 4,000 motorists have been cited for seat belt non-use. (preliminary).
In Minnesota during 2010-2012, 189 of the 361 unbelted crash victims (52 percent) killed in crashes were ejected. The statistic highlights the force and violence of crashes, and the importance of seat belts, officials say.
“The role of a seat belt is to keep you safely inside the vehicle compartment and prevent you from getting thrown around the vehicle and slammed into other passengers,” says Donna Berger DPS Office of Traffic Safety director. “In rollover crashes, a vehicle will often roll over an ejected motorist.”
On May 25, an unbelted 19-year-old was involved in a crash on I-94 in Douglas County and was ejected and killed. Another vehicle occupant in the same vehicle was belted and had injuries that were not life threatening.
Age Groups with Most Unbelted and Ejected Deaths, 2010–2012
There were 361 unbelted deaths during this period and 189 were ejected.
Underscoring the importance of child car seats and booster seats, of the 15 children ages 0-8 killed during 2010-2012, at least five were not restrained properly and two were ejected. Children under age 8 must ride in a federally approved car seat or booster, unless the child is 4 feet 9 inches or taller.
Drivers, Passengers — Including in the Back Seat — Must Be Belted
In Minnesota, drivers and passengers in all seating positions, including in the back seat, are required to be buckled up 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; shoulder straps should never be tucked under an arm or behind the back.
Minnesota Child Car Seat Law and Steps
Minnesota statute requires children under age 8 to ride in a federally approved car seat or booster, unless the child is 4 feet 9 inches or taller. Here are the restraint steps a child should progress through as they age and grow:
About the Minnesota Department Public Safety
The Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) comprises 11 divisions where 2,100 employees operate programs in the areas of law enforcement, crime victim assistance, traffic safety, alcohol and gambling, emergency communications, fire safety, pipeline safety, driver licensing, vehicle registration and emergency management. DPS activity is anchored by three core principles: education, enforcement and prevention.
About the Office of Traffic Safety
The Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) designs, implements and coordinates federally funded traffic safety enforcement and education programs to improve driver behaviors and reduce the deaths and serious injuries that occur on Minnesota roads. OTS also administers state funds for the motorcycle safety program and for the child seats for needy families program.
OTS is an anchoring partner of the state’s Toward Zero Deaths (TZD) traffic safety 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.
Office of Traffic Safety Highlights