Nisswa/ Crow Wing County, Minn. Nisswa Police Department officers will buckle down on unbuckled vehicle occupants in Nisswa from May 24 through June 2 in the largest statewide, synchronized enforcement of seat belt laws. The statewide May Mobilization offensive is a part of the Minnesota Department of Public Safetys (DPS) Safe & Sober education and enforcement campaign.
The May Mobilization will be the states largest and as a result, the most determined, of any enforcement effort to-date. Law enforcement participants patrolling extra shifts will include more than 350 Minnesota agencies, including local police departments and county sheriffs.
"This is a no-holds barred effort," says Chief Craig Taylor. "If people dont think were serious about seat belts, they sure will when we hit the roads."
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has called for every state to execute this mobilization to increase of seat belt use nationwide. NHTSA will use the data compiled from the mobilization to gain support from Congress in order to aid future traffic safety initiatives.
The mobilization period, which includes Memorial Day weekend, is historically one of the deadliest driving periods of the year, due to the dramatic increase in road traffic with the approach of summer. During this time last year in Minnesota, 1,212 people sustained injuries in traffic crashes and 15 were killed. Traffic crashes cost Minnesotans approximately $1.2 billion in 2000.
Seat belt use in Minnesota currently stands at 74 percent. Although this number has increased for the last three consecutive years, the rates of increase have been minimal. Non-use of seat belts was attributed to roughly two-thirds of traffic fatalities in 2001.
The Safe & Sober campaign is funded by the NHTSA and administered by DPS Office of Traffic Safety. The program is designed to reduce traffic fatalities and serious injuries.