Between road construction, people with road rage, distracted drivers, weather conditions, deer, and many other unplanned events, drivers and passengers on Minnesota’s road ways deal with a lot. The Minnesota State Patrol and other agencies across the state of Minnesota will begin their “Click It or Ticket” program starting May 22nd until June 4th. During last year’s Click it or Ticket campaign law enforcement handed out 7,233 seat belt and 213 child restraint citations. The goal is to encourage people to use their seat belt every time they get into a vehicle and to make their passengers also use their seat belt.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention the use of a seat belt reduces the risk of injury or death by about 50%. On a personal note, if my father had been wearing a seat belt he would not have been killed in a car crash due to being ejected from the vehicle. His passenger who was wearing her seat belt survived. So buckle up and be safe.
Primary Seat Belt Law
* Minnesota’s seat belt law is a primary offense, meaning drivers and passengers in all seating positions — including in the backseat — must be buckled up or in the correct child restraint.
* Law enforcement will stop and ticket drivers or passengers that are not wearing a seat belt. .A seat belt ticket is $25 but can cost more than $100 with fees.
* Drivers will be ticketed for passengers ages 14 and younger that are not wearing a seat belt. Passengers age 15 and older will be ticketed directly for not wearing a seat belt.
The simple fact about driving any motorized vehicle is that the faster you are going the longer it is going to take for you to slow down. A vehicle traveling at 60 miles per hour will take 100 yards, the length of a football field, to stop fully. Speeding also lowers the amount of time a drive has in order to react to a situation; a vehicle that breaks suddenly in front of you, a kid chasing a ball into the street, a car merging without a blinker, etc.
Speeding is a major factor in crashes between motorists and motorcyclists. Motorcycles are smaller and thus it is harder for passenger vehicle drivers to not only see them but judge how fast they are going. Always look twice before merging into traffic to avoid collisions with not only motorcyclists but other vehicles.
The one thing to keep in mind is that speeding doesn’t really get you anywhere that much faster. According to AAA, travel time for a 30-mile trip:
- 55 miles per hour = 32.7 minutes.
- 65 miles an hour = 27.7 minutes (5 minutes saved).
- 75 miles per hour = 24 minutes (8 minutes saved).
So the question to really ask yourself is if saving 8 minutes is worth what a speeding ticket might cost you. Beyond the cost of a fine (8 mph over in Dakota County will cost you $121 and some change I know a guy…), there is also the cost of your insurance increase if the ticket is anything over 10mph above the speed limit. This site here can give you an idea of what it will end up costing you in insurance increases.
The last big enforcement campaign across Minnesota will be the Labor Day Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over DWI Crackdown. Increased enforcement will take place from August 19th until September 3rd.
The latest trend shown in a news release from September of last year shows that DWI arrests are at a 35 year low and that the number of repeat offenders is on the decline. Last year there were 25,027 arrests compared with 42,007 in 2006 which is a 40% decline in the last 10 years.
Remember everyone, friends don’t let friends Drink and Drive. Below are some tips for everyone so we are all safe on Minnesota’s roadways.
- Plan for a safe ride — designate a sober driver, use a cab/public transportation or stay at the location of the celebration.
- Speak Up – Offer to be a designated driver or be available to pick up a loved one anytime, anywhere.
- Buckle up — the best defense against a drunk driver.
- Report drunk driving — call 911 when witnessing impaired driving behavior. Be prepared to provide location, license plate number and observed dangerous behavior