The numbers have been tabulated and law enforcement statewide issued 10,874 citations to motorists who were spotted not wearing their seat belts during a recent crackdown, according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety  (OTS).

Tickets were written by 329 agencies between May 19 and June 1 as part of a Click It or Ticket It campaign. That was slightly more than the 10,342 tickets handed out in a similar campagin in May 2013.

Minnesota drivers are pretty good about wearing their seat belts as better than 94 percent of motorists are buckled up but there is still room for improvement, said Donna Berger, OTS director.

“These numbers indicate far too many people are risking their lives and the lives of the people riding with them,” she said “The Click It or Ticket It enforcement and education campaign reminds motorists that buckling up not only is the law, it’s your best defense in case of a crash.”

The number of motorists who buckle up has been on an upward trend.  Based upon observational studies, daytime seat belt use in Minnesota was only 20 percent in 1986. Seat belt use in Minnesota hit a record-high seat belt use rate of 94.8 percent in 2013, much of that attributed to due to enforcement, education and the strengthening of seat belt laws.

Here are the rules: Minnesota’s seat belt law is a primary offense, meaning drivers and passengers in all seating positions must be buckled up or in the correct child restraint.

A child who is both under age 8 and shorter than 4 feet 9 inches is required to be fastened in a child safety seat or booster seat that meets federal safety standards. Under this law, a child cannot use a seat belt alone until they are age 8 or 4 feet 9 inches tall – whichever comes first. It is recommended to keep a child in a booster based on their height, rather than their age. Children under age 13 should always ride in the back seat, law enforcement says.

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