'Tossed around like a ping pong ball': Extra seat belt enforcement starts today

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A crackdown on unbuckled motorists is coming.

The Department of Public Safety says more than 300 law enforcement agencies around the state are taking part in the Click It or Ticket campaign. It starts Friday Oct. 9 and runs through Oct. 25.

There will be extra enforcement of unbelted motorists during that time.

The department says 361 people were killed on the road last year. Overall, from 2012 through 2014, 46 percent of the 823 people killed in motor vehicle crashes were not wearing seat belts.

"The staggering percentage of people who died after being ejected from their vehicle proves that seat belts save lives," said Donna Berger, Office of Traffic Safety director, in the news release. "Those not buckled up during a crash can be tossed around like a ping pong ball, thrown from the vehicle into oncoming traffic or even risk their own car rolling over them."

One interesting stat: men tend to not buckle up far more often than women. The Department of Public Safety says 49 percent of men killed in car crashes last year weren’t buckled, compared to 35 percent of women.

Halfway through 2015, that same trend is holding true – 54 percent of men killed in the first six months of 2015 didn't wear a seat belt, compared with 40 percent of women.

A 2014 evaluation report notes that 95 percent of Minnesota road users in 2013 observed seat belt rules.

In 2009, lawmakers approved a bill allowing drivers or passengers to be ticketed simply for not wearing a seat belt, even if no other traffic violations were recorded.

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