Fasten your seat belts... (literally) extra enforcement starts Monday

It'll save you from a ticket, and maybe even save your life.

Don't be caught without a seat belt Monday – officers will be on the lookout for violations as part of the Click It or Ticket campaign.

More than 300 law enforcement agencies across the state will participate in extra enforcement from May 22 - June 4, a news release says. To kick off the campaign, Minnesota will join half the country in what's called a “Border to Border” operation, where officers nationwide will be especially focused on seatbelt violations from 4-8 p.m. on Monday.

In Minnesota, a seat belt ticket is $25, but can cost more than $100 with fees.

Minnesotans are actually pretty good when it comes to buckling up. About 93 percent of us are wearing seat belts, the Department of Public Safety says. Still, that leaves room for improvement, with 1,517 motorists ticketed last month for not buckling up during a two-week extra distracted driving enforcement period.

Not wearing a seat belt seems to be more common outside the Twin Cities – in 2015, the majority of unbelted deaths (a whopping 87 percent) occurred in Greater Minnesota, outside the seven-county Metro area. And a recent DPS survey shows females are more likely than males to buckle up.

For the 7 percent of Minnesotans not wearing seat belts, listen up: driving unbelted can have serious consequences, especially if you're involved in a crash. Last year, at least 79 people who weren't wearing seat belts died on Minnesota roads, preliminary numbers show.

Plus, we're entering a dangerous season for drivers – many lives are lost every year during the 100 deadliest days on Minnesota roads, from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Over a five year period from 2011-2015, 152 unbelted motorists died during the 100 deadliest days, the department says.

And it's especially dangerous not to wear a seatbelt when it's dark – unbelted fatalities happen more often at night than during the daytime hours. In 2015, more than half of all Americans killed in crashes during the overnight hours of 6 p.m. to 5:59 a.m. were unbelted, the department says.

If all that can't convince you, this gruesome scene in Zombieland has long been enough motivation for this writer.

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