Drivers and passengers in Minnesota are inching closer to never failing to buckle up, according to data released Tuesday by state safety officials.
Results from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) Office of Traffic Safety annual observational seat-belt use survey — conducted in June — show a record 94.8 percent rate of compliance. This marks a 15-plus percent increase since 2003 and is up from 93.6 percent in 2012.
State officials attribute the continued increase to awareness and enforcement of the state’s primary seat-belt law, which took effect in June 2009.
In 1986, the year Minnesota first passed a seat-belt law, compliance was 20 percent. Deaths of people who didn’t buckle up that year totaled 280, compared to 116 from last year.
Compliance by type of vehicle this year ranged from a high of 97.3 percent (van) to a low of 86.8 percent (pickup truck).
In other categories:
• By gender: Female, 97.5 percent; male, 92.6 percent.
• By age: 10 and under, 99.4 percent; 11-15, 99.2 percent; 16-29, 92.8 percent; 30-64, 95.4 percent; 65 and older, 93.7 percent.
The state is in the midst of a “Click It or Ticket” seat-belt enforcement campaign that runs through Saturday.
Nationally for 2012, Washington led all states with 96.9 percent compliance, according to data compiled by the U.S. Department of Transportation. At the bottom was South Dakota at 66.5 percent. The national average was 86 percent.
Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482