Study: Minn. Seat Belt Law Is Saving Lives

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Minnesota law is being credited with saving lives behind the wheel.

Nearly three years ago, the primary seat belt law went into effect giving law enforcement the ability to ticket drivers without another moving violation. That law combined with advances in vehicle safety has led a trend of fewer fatal crashes since 2002.

“Every week there are traffic crashes where belted motorists walk away with little or no injury,” said Mona Dohman, commissioner of Minnesota’s Department of Public Safety.

A study conducted by the University of Minnesota’s Center for Excellence in Rural Safety shows the primary seat belt law has resulted in 68 fewer deaths and 320 fewer severe injuries from 2009-2011. It’s also resulted in 93 percent of Minnesotans wearing their seat belts – a growth of six percent from 2009.

Larry Casey, of Prior Lake, is in the midst of planning his summer getaway.

“We’ll be touring part of wine country and the national parks in northern California,” Casey said.

The trip will mean many miles of travel on the open road. Like many drivers, Casey relies on technology for added security behind the wheel.

“We’ve got airbags all the way around,” Casey said.

From vehicles with rear view cameras to those that stop automatically, new electronics bring extra protection to motorists. However, most drivers won’t be able to benefit from that technology, because it won’t be in the majority of vehicles for many years, according to Gail Weinholzer, of AAA.

The highest percentage of traffic deaths comes from young drivers, mainly male. Motorists ages 15-29 make up 24 percent of all drivers, but account for 40 percent of unbelted deaths.

More from Rachel Slavik
  • Marine 0311

    This law is such a violation.

  • Brett

    Sorry, Marine, I am a vet as well. NO racing organization alllows for unbelted drivers, and for good reason. Seat belts do save lives. Do belted drivers die? Of course they do. BUT, many belted drivers don’t, and if they are injured, there injuries are often MINIMIZED because they were wearing SEAT BELTS.

    If you can tell me any professional race-oriented organization that says that seat belts are “optional”, JUST ONE, then I will give you some credit. And no, I’m not talking about your local DIRT TRACK, I’m talking about NASCAR, Indycar, F1, drag racing, sprint cars, endurance racing, etc.

    Seat belts and car “cages”, along with airbags, work TOGETHER to maximize a drivers’/passengers’ safety. That was how they were DESIGNED to WORK TOGETHER, not independently.

    Wearing a seat belt is NO violation, it is only a twisted figment of your imagination, and a total lack of understanding of the physical forces that occur in a serious crash. Seat belts have saved my live, and in other cases, I would have had a serious injury if I had not been wearing one, instead, I walked away, not even needing an examination or calling on an “ambulance lawyer” to represent me to fraudulantly claim that I was injured, when in fact, I was NOT.

    • Marine 0311

      If I don’t want to wear a seatbelt I shouldn’t have to. What’s next? Making smoking illegal, maybe not wearing a jacket if the temp drops below 30 degrees you should get a ticket also. How can we live without the government telling us what to do to stay safe. You made a conscience decision to wear your seat belt, good for you, but like I said I don’t want to wear it i shouldn’t have to. This has nothing to do with safety, it’s a revenue generator for the already defunct state government

  • The Editor

    How much revenue were the wolves able to collect from us trusting sheep?

  • Sgt

    When I was in the Marines in the early 80s it was mantory on base. got used to it.

  • Peoplepay

    this law is bunch of BS…. its just a way for are broke state to make money. the only time they can even see to be shear you don’t have it on, is in the city going 30-40 mph. the hwy or freeway were i would make a diff… there is no way to be shear you even have it on… laws like this make me think like, is this even the USA… whats land of the free an home of the brave any more….. ? every time you turn your back, they make a new law…. an then tell us how good it is…

  • Darren

    I wear my sealtbelt so the First Responders, Firefighters,Cops and Paramedics don’t have to deal wtih whats left of my body scattered all over the highway. All over the windshield, all over the front seat, all over the hood of the car.

    Its not about me, its about making life easier for those who try and help us and serve us.

  • Big Gov

    Big Gov. intruding into peoples lives. Where Herman Cain?!?!?!

  • Big Gov

    This User Script for Mozilla Firefox add-on Grease-monkey will put a halt to the auto re-freshing on Then your computer will not be hijacked and you can read the full article and comments with out loosing your place.

blog comments powered by Disqus
Thursday Night Football

Listen Live