Law enforcement officers across Minnesota ticketed more than 4,400 drivers during a recent seat-belt enforcement campaign, the state Department of Public Safety reported on Thursday.
Authorities also cited 96 drivers for failing to properly restrain children in car seats as part of the Click It or Ticket campaign, which was carried out statewide by 300 agencies from Sept. 16 to 28.
Both numbers were lower than during a similar campaign in 2018, when officers handed out 4,610 tickets to unbelted drivers and passengers, and 140 citations for violations involving car seats, the department said.
In Minnesota, state law requires that all drivers and passengers be buckled up or restrained in the correct child-safety seat. Seat belts must be worn low and snug across the hips, and shoulder straps should go across the chest and not be tucked under the arms or behind the back, the agency said.
Minnesotans buckle up at a high rate — 93.4% of drivers and front-seat passengers, according to the 2019 Minnesota Seat Belt Survey.
For all of 2018, officers issued more than 34,700 citations to unbelted motorists, a sharp drop from the more than 54,800 issued in 2014. The number of unbelted motorists who have died in crashes has also fallen, from 104 in 2014 to 96 last year, state statistics show.
In the metro area, St. Paul police handed out the most citations with 402, followed by the State Patrol’s East Metro division at 265 and its West Metro district with 195. The Dakota County Sheriff’s Office ticketed 105 motorists, and Eden Prairie police gave citations to 77.
In greater Minnesota, the State Patrol’s Duluth and Rochester districts wrote the most tickets, with 229 and 202 respectively. The Duluth Police Department handed out the third most tickets with 159.
The seat-belt campaign was paid for with funds allocated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.