Just how strong is a seat belt? Strong enough that a tow truck used one to lift a 3,000 pound car.
"Seat belts are little miracle workers that keep drivers in their seats instead of being of moving around inside the vehicle or worse yet, being ejected," said Col. Matt Langer of the Minnesota State Patrol.
Langer made his comments during a news conference put on Thursday by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety to demonstrate the strength of a seat belt and encourage drivers to wear them. The demonstration came ahead of a two-week "Click It or Ticket" seat belt enforcement campaign that begins Monday and runs through June 4.
Last year, 79 drivers who were not wearing seat belts died in crashes and preliminary numbers show that 25 unbelted motorists have died this year. Langer said it's always tough for troopers to tell family members that a relative has died. "It's even more difficult to knock on a door in case that it truly was not necessary."
Minnesotans are among the best in the country when it comes to wearing seat belts with 93 percent of motorists buckling up, the DPS says. That compares with 88.5 percent nationally.
Still, there are too many drivers and passengers who don't wear them, said Donna Berger, director of the Minnesota Office of Traffic Safety. If you are in a crash "the odds [of survival] are so much better if you make that choice to buckle that seat belt."
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, seat belts helped save 13,941 lives nationwide in 2015.
Minnesota law requires anybody behind the wheel and all passengers in vehicle to wear a seat belt. "Failing to put a seat belt on even one time can mean the difference between life and death," Berger said.