A new study by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety shows 68 lives and over 300 injuries have been avoided in Minnesota thanks to the state’s 2009 Primary Seat Belt Law. Under the primary seat belt law, officers can ticket drivers for not wearing a seat belt without any other law being broken. Since the law went into effect, observed seatbelt use in the state has risen from 87 percent in 2008 to 93 percent in 2011.
“The findings of this study remind us again how vital it is for Minnesotans to buckle up — every seat, every ride,” said Public Safety Commissioner Mona Dohman. Seatbelt use reduces the risk of fatal injury in a passenger automobile by 45 percent. Unbuckled motorists are six times more likely to be injured in an accident than motorists wearing seat belts. Minnesotans that are least likely to buckle up and more likely to die in crashes are young drivers. This group represents only 24 percent of licensed drivers in Minnesota, yet they account for half of serious unbelted injuries.
The study by the Department of Public Safety showed 70 percent of Minnesota motorists are in favor of the Primary Seatbelt Law, up from 62 percent just before the law was passed. As more motorists use seatbelts, the drop in injuries is also saving the state money. $45 million in hospital bills have been avoided thanks to motorists using their seatbelts.
“As Minnesota continues its efforts to move roadway deaths towards zero, this research shows that seat belts are a critical tool in that effort,” said MnDOT Commissioner Tom Sorel. It’s important that every Minnesota motorist remembers to use a seatbelt. Buckling is the easiest, least expensive way to help lower traffic deaths in Minnesota.