Tuesday, October 30, 2012

NW MN Motorists buckle up 73.9 percent, survey says

BEMIDJINorthwestern Minnesota new seat belt compliance rate is 73.9 percent, reflecting an increase— last year’s belt use rate was 65.8 percent.

Northwestern Minnesota region has shown significant improvement in belt use rates when compared to other Minnesota Toward Zero Deaths regions.

The survey results were announced in conjunction with a statewide Click It or Ticket seat belt enforcement effort that lasted through Oct. 26.

The observational survey was conducted in June and data were collected in eleven counties.

The regional seat belt surveys are unrelated to the Department of Public Safety (DPS) annual statewide survey results announced recently and cannot be compared to the statewide results.

Statewide belt use is a record high 93.6 percent, according to DPS. The statewide survey provides a comprehensive gauge of belt use by measuring counties where 85 percent of the state’s road deaths occurred on average during the past three years, while the regional surveys have a smaller sample size and aim to provide an additional snapshot of belt use to measure local progress.

Regional Seat Belt Use Rates

East Central Minnesota:

§ 85.1 percent (first time regional belt use survey)

§ Counties observed — Benton, Cass, Crow Wing, Isanti, Kanabec, Mille Lacs, Morrison, Sherburne, Stearns, Todd, Wadena, Wright.

Northeast Minnesota:

§ 80.5 percent, slightly up from 80.3 percent in 2011.

§ Counties observed (April 2012) — Aitkin, Carlton, Cook, Itasca, Koochiching, Lake, Pine, St. Louis.

Northwest Minnesota:

§ 73.9 percent, up from 65.8 percent in 2011.

§ Counties observed (June 2012) —Beltrami, Clearwater, Hubbard, Kittson, Lake of the Woods, Marshall, Norman, Pennington, Polk, Red Lake, and Roseau.

Southeast Minnesota:

§ 86.7 percent, up from 84.7 percent in 2011.

§ Counties observed — Dodge, Fillmore, Freeborn, Goodhue, Houston, Mower, Olmsted, Rice, Steele, Wabasha, Winona.


South Central Minnesota

§ 84.7 percent, up from 73.2 percent in 2011.

§ Blue Earth, Brown, Cottonwood, Faribault, Jackson, Le Sueur, Martin, Nicollet, Nobles, Rock, Sibley, Waseca and Watonwan.

 Southwest Minnesota

§ 82.5 percent, up from 81.1 percent in 2011.

§ Big Stone, Chippewa, Kandiyohi, Lac qui Parle, Lincoln, Lyon, McLeod, Meeker, Murray, Pipestone, Redwood, Renville, Swift and Yellow Medicine.

West Central Minnesota:

§ 77.3 percent (first-time regional belt use survey)

§ Counties observed — Becker, Clay, Douglas, Grant, Mahnomen, Otter Tail, Pope, Stevens, Traverse, Wilkin.

Charting Minnesota Seat Belt Use Rates and Unbelted Deaths

As statewide seat belt use has increased, unbelted deaths have dropped, according to DPS:

§ 1986 (the year Minnesota first passed a seat belt law): Belt compliance was 20 percent; 280 unbelted deaths.

§ 2003 (10 years ago): Belt compliance was 79.4 percent; 257 unbelted deaths.

§ 2008 (five years ago): Belt use was 86.7 percent; 150 unbelted deaths.

§ 2011: Belt use was 92.6 percent; 120 unbelted deaths.