More traffic deaths occuring to unbelted motoristsDespite statewide efforts by law enforcement to minimize traffic fatalities, 18 motorists died in Minnesota during January. Thirteen of them weren’t buckled up.
By: Regan Carstensen, The Republican Eagle
Despite statewide efforts by law enforcement to minimize traffic fatalities, 18 motorists died in Minnesota during January. Thirteen of them weren’t buckled up.
An initiative called Toward Zero Deaths focuses heavily on education, engineering, enforcement and emergency services, in hopes of significantly reducing traffic fatalities and serious injuries.
“It’s a grant that we get to do enforcements specifically related to seat belts,” Goodhue County Sheriff Scott McNurlin explained. “It’s one of those things where it keeps the public aware that these are — in the traffic world — hot button issues.”
January is the second consecutive month that a majority of traffic deaths comprised unbelted motorists, the Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety said. While January 2012 saw the deaths of 13 of 18 motorists who weren’t wearing a seat belt, December 2011 totaled 18 of 23.
A few of the numbers come directly from Goodhue County, where six people have died from traffic accidents in the past four months. Three of the six were not buckled up.
“It’s kind of an alarming thing to see it go the other direction again after we’ve been doing all this work,” McNurlin said. “It’s unfortunate.”
Most of the unbelted deaths throughout the state in January occurred in more rural counties where belt compliance is historically low, the Office of Traffic Safety reported. Four of the unbelted victims were younger than 30 years old, six were ages 30-54 and three were 55 or older.
“These fatalities only emphasize the point that if you don’t buckle up, you are giving up the best defense you have to stay safe in the case of a crash,” Minnesota State Patrol Lt. Eric Roeske said.
Minnesota law requires drivers and passengers in every seat to be belted.