Minnesota’s primary safety belt law reduces fatalities: report

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St. Paul, MN – Minnesota has experienced a decrease in roadway fatalities and serious injuries since the state changed to primary enforcement of its safety belt law, according to a report (.pdf file) from the University of Minnesota. Primary enforcement allows officers to pull over and ticket a motorist for not wearing a safety belt; secondary laws require the motorist to first be pulled over for another violation.

Researchers used survey information and data from the Minnesota Crash Records Database to compare actual crash data to expected data. They estimated that between 68 and 92 fewer fatalities and between 320 and 550 fewer serious injuries have occurred since the law went into effect in 2009.

An estimated $45 million has been saved in hospital costs and safety belt use in the state has increased 6 percent between 2008 and 2011, according to researchers.

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