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Click It or Ticket campaign begins on Monday

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Safety officials are once again encouraging motorists and passengers to buckle their seat belts.

More than 300 law enforcement agencies across the state will be participating in the Click It or Ticket campaign, the Department of Public Safety (DPS) said in a release.

The program will run from May 23 to June 5 and corresponds with the national campaign.

In Minnesota, severe injuries are going down — in 1987, there were 4,176 vehicle occupants who suffered severe injuries in traffic crashes, which dropped to 745 in 2015 thanks in part to seat belts.

But officials still want you to wear them, as seat belts help keep people from crashing into the windshield, injuring other passengers and being ejected from the vehicle.

Protecting yourself

Not only is not wearing a seat belt dangerous, but it’s also against the law.

In 2015, 91 unbelted motorists lost their lives on Minnesota roads. 77 percent of people in vehicles who were ejected or partially ejected and died were not wearing a seat belt.

In the last five years, the number of unbelted motorists who died was 527.

Minnesota law states that drivers and passengers in all seating positions must 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, and shoulder straps should never be tucked under an arm or behind the back.

Toward Zero Deaths

The Minnesota Toward Zero Deaths is an initiative set to curb traffic fatalities.

2016 was quickly outpacing the year before in traffic deaths (partially to blame was the steep increase in traffic deaths in January this year, when there were 25 in that month alone – a number that officials called “disturbing") but is currently 117 traffic deaths compared to last year at this time when there were 124.

There were 411 total traffic fatalities in Minnesota in 2015, the DPS reported.

However, despite the uptick in 2015 and 2016, deaths are still lower than a decade ago and the 1990s, when the number of fatalities frequently jumped above 600 a year. Officials credit the 2009 mandatory seat belt law with decreasing a significant number of fatalities.

The Minnesota Toward Zero Death goal is to get as low as 300 deaths by 2020.

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