FARIBAULT, Minn. (AP) — Traffic safety experts say seat belt use statewide has increased from 83 percent in 2006 to 92 percent this year.

But some counties in southeastern Minnesota still lag behind. A study by the Minnesota Office of Traffic Safety says that in 11 counties east of Interstate 35, seat belt use is 79 percent, up from 69 percent in 2006.

MnDOT spokeswoman Kristine Hernandez says the rural nature of the area is part of the equation. She says people don’t think they need to buckle up when they’re just running errands.

But, Hernandez tells the Faribault Daily News that more than 50 percent of all vehicular deaths occur on rural or county roads.

(© Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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