Minnesota law requires drivers and all seated passengers to wear seat belts, but law enforcement found more than 1,100 motorists breaking that rule during a recent Click It or Ticket campaign.
Police statewide handed out a total of 1,164 tickets during the Sept. 18-24 education and enforcement campaign to encourage drivers to buckle up, the Department of Public Safety (DPS) said.
Another 27 motorists were cited for not having children properly restrained in a car seat, including a parent in Lonsdale who was driving with a toddler on their lap.
In St. Paul, a driver who was cited four straight years at the same intersection during past annual campaigns was ticketed again.
"Wouldn't more than $100 in fines be better spent at a concert, sporting event, dinner with a friend or a day trip?" the DPS asked in a news release reporting the results.
In North Branch, a driver cited for a seat belt violation was arrested for felony drug possession when police found 20 grams of marijuana wax and 88 grams of marijuana in their vehicle, the department said.
St. Paul police wrote 195 tickets, the most of the campaign. Elsewhere in Minnesota, the State Patrol's Duluth District led the way with 83 citations.
Drivers in Olmsted County, which includes Rochester, were found to be some of the most compliant with the seat belt law: Of 308 stops, only two resulted in a seat belt citation, the DPS said.
Seat belts must be worn tightly across the hips or thighs and not tucked under the arm or behind the back, the department said. Children must be restrained in a child safety seat until they are 4 feet, 9 inches tall or 8 years old, whichever comes first.
Though more than 90% of Minnesota drivers wear seat belts, not using one is among the four leading causes of traffic fatalities, DPS data shows.
Last year, 110 drivers killed in crashes were not wearing seat belts, the highest number in eight years, the agency said. As of Sunday, 61 unbelted motorists have died in wrecks this year.