Police prepare for annual May seatbelt enforcement effort
In the last three years on Minnesota roads, there have been 864 traffic deaths. A total of 352 of these deaths were among drivers and passengers who were not wearing seatbelts, according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, Office of Traffic Safety.
There were 30 teen motor vehicle occupant deaths in April, May and June during the past three years and 63 percent of those killed were not buckled up. In an effort to reduce these numbers, Minnesota officers, deputies and troopers will be working together during the annual Click It or Ticket seat belt and child passenger seat enforcement project May 20-June 2.
“We would rather have everyone buckled up correctly than to have to stop and cite you or deal with you as a crash victim later,” says State Patrol Lt. Jason Hanson of Duluth.
Officers will be stopping and citing drivers and passengers who are not buckled up correctly. Back seat passengers and children are expected to be properly buckled, also.
“Even though we have an over-all seat belt use rate of 94 percent, more than half of the vehicle occupants killed in crashes in Minnesota each year are not buckled up. These are preventable deaths and injuries which cost our communities greatly in medical assistance, emergency response costs and increased insurance premiums,” said Brainerd Police Chief Corky McQuiston.
Burning restrictions in effect
Annual spring burning restrictions went into effect in Lake County on May 13. No burning permits will be issued other than variances on a case by case basis from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Forestry office. This does not affect campfires, which currently have no restrictions.
According to the DNR, with a return to normal temperatures, increased wind and lower relative humidity, remaining snow has been melting quickly. Exposed dry grass and brush creates a potential for wildfires. Small wildfires have already sprung up around the state and in the county, and a 8,700-acre wildfire burned through southern Douglas County in Wisconsin earlier this week, destroying 47 structures.
The DNR said it urges extreme caution when burning and encourages composting, recycling and chipping as alternatives. While debris burning is curtailed, campfires smaller than 3 feet in diameter and 3 feet in height are allowed