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Buckle up, or risk a ticket or worse. Seat belt campaign begins Monday

When it comes to seat belt usage, Minnesotans do a pretty good job. More than 94 percent of front seat  motorists and passengers buckle up when in the car according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety's 2015 Minnesota Seat Belt Survey.

But for the six percent of those who don't and are involved in a crash, the results can be deadly. In 2015, 91 unbelted motorists lost their lives on Minnesota roads. Over the past five years, 527 unbelted motorists lost their lives and 1,035 people suffered life-changing injuries, the DPS said.

From Monday through June 5, more than 300 law enforcement agencies from across the state will be looking for motorists who are not wearing their seat belts as part of Click It or Ticket campaign. The goal of the campaign is to increase seat belt usage and prevent serious injuries and deaths, said Donna Berger, Office of Traffic Safety director.

“We may trust our own driving abilities, but we’re all vulnerable to the dangerous driving habits of others,” she said. “Protect yourself and your family by buckling up — every seat, every time.”

According to the DPS, wearing a seat belt will reduce the chances of: :
◦Crashing into the windshield.
◦Slamming into and injuring other passengers.
◦Being ejected from the vehicle.

“I would have never guessed that a piece of cloth would save my life," said 11-year-old Josh Krambler, of Buffalo, who survived a crash because he wore his seat belt. The truck he was riding in is shown above. “It is insane to think that I would not be here today if that piece of cloth was never invented. Seat belts are like insurance, you never know when they will save your life.”

Kianna Stewart, 17, of Red Wing, said she's still alive because she made the choice to buckle up on the night she fell asleep at the wheel and rolled her car.

“I could have died that night,” Stewart said. “A seat belt is a decision that could save your life, if I wasn’t wearing mine, I don’t think I would be here to tell people to put one on. I don’t think I would have had a chance to survive.”

In 2015, 77 percent of vehicle occupants who were ejected or partially ejected and died were not wearing a seat belt.

As a reminder, seat belt usage is the law in Minnesota. All drivers and passengers must be buckled up or seated in the correct child restraint. Officers will stop and ticket unbelted drivers or passengers, or for those not wearing them correctly. Belts must be worn low and snug across the hips, and shoulder straps should never be tucked under an arm or behind the back.

The law also requires that children must be in a child restraint until they are 4 feet 9 inches, or at least age 8, whichever comes first.

Photo: Minnesota State Patrol

Beyonce will bring extra traffic around U of M campus this afternoon

Multi-platinum, Grammy Award-winning recording artist Beyonce will draw a crowd of more than 40,000 to the University of Minnesota Monday, and that will put extra pressure on the traffic grid just as the afternoon commute gets underway.

The singer takes the stage at TCF Bank Stadium at 8 p.m.

The good news is that a majority of students have left campus, so the crush might not be as severe as when large events are held on campus during the school year. The U has hosted enough of these types of events and is more than ready for the influx of traffic. Still, concertgoers should prepare for backups on streets leading to campus. Be on the look out for traffic control agents and electronic signs that will convey information about traffic conditions and parking.

If you are not going to the show, the U asks you to stay away from campus. And if you are, think about using Metro Transit's Green Line which does stop right outside TCF Bank Stadium or arrive by bus. Routes 2, 3 and 6 also serve campus.

Here are a few things to know about Beyonce Formation Tour:

Doors to the stadium will open at 5:30 p.m. Parking areas will open at 3 p.m. The going rate is $20 to $25 at the Oak Street, Fourth Street, University Avenue and Washington Avenue ramps, and the Minnesota and Gateway surface lots, all within walking distance to the stadium. It's only $10 to use the East River Road Garage, but with that comes a much longer walk. Here is a link to the U's parking information.

As special consideration for this event, the U has set up a designated pick-up and drop-off zone.

DROP-OFF
Before the concert, drivers can drop-off concert attendees along Oak Street between 4th and 5th Streets. Riders should exit vehicles at the curb. If vehicles are parked at meters, riders may get out in the lane next to the parked cars. The lane closest to the double-yellow center lane should always remain in motion (no stopping).

PICK-UP
After the concert, drivers can return to the same area to wait for pick-up. Please follow the direction of official University staff members organizing the area.

Road work

Keep in mind that 15th Avenue is down to one lane at the intersection of 8th Street SE. MnDOT has construction on Hwy. 280 between I-35W and Broadway Street and on Hwy. 36 at Lexington Avenue.