In honor of the 10-year anniversary of the state passing the primary seat belt law, Minnesota is conducting a two-week “Click It Or Ticket” campaign to catch drivers and passengers who fail to wear their seat belt on the road.
The primary seat belt law went on the books on June 9, 2009 in honor of Meghan Cooper, a 15-year-old who died in 1999 after being ejected from a crash from the rear seat of a vehicle. The goal of the campaign is to help people remember that seat belts save lives.
The good news is that most Minnesotans seem to be getting the message. In the five years leading up to the law (2004-2008), 51 percent of all fatalities (1,008) involved unbelted motorists. In the five years following the primary seat belt law, that number decreased to 34 percent (446). Another statistic shows that 152 unbelted motorists lost their lives in traffic accidents a year before the bill became law. Last year that number decreased to 92, but that’s still too many, which is why police are conducting their Click It Or Ticket campaign.
“We’ve heard the argument, ‘It should be my choice to buckle up,’” said Sergeant Kevin Tussing. “But before you decide not to wear that belt, think of those children who didn’t have the choice to live without their mother or father. Or the spouse who will raise their children on their own. All because someone made the selfish choice to not wear their belt. You can’t choose who else is on the road with you, but you can choose to protect yourself by buckling up.”
Click It Or Ticket Campaign
The seat belt campaign began yesterday, May 20 and will run through June 2. Although the point of the campaign is to remind people that seat belts save lives and that everyone in the vehicle needs to be properly restrained, that doesn’t mean police are just going to be out issuing warnings. If you don’t buckle up, expect a ticket.
The seat belt law is a primary violation, which means if police see you driving without your seat belt on, they are within their rights to stop your vehicle without needing to witness another type of traffic violation. Seat belt citations have a base fine of $25, but they can reach triple digits when court costs and other fees are added. You can also be cited as the driver if occupants under the age of 14 are not properly secured. Unbelted passengers age 15 and older will receive their own citation if caught riding in a vehicle without a seat belt.
Seat belt citations can be difficult to challenge, especially because they typically come down to a he-said, she-said argument, but we have ways of strengthening your case and proving to the court that you were in fact wearing your seat belt. For more information on how we do this, reach out to Appelman Law Firm today for a free case evaluation.