Winsted-Lester Prairie Journal, August 24, 1998

Police Dept. tallies Lester Prairie seatbelt usage at 54%

On Aug. 15 and 16, the Lester Prairie Police Department conducted an informal seatbelt survey in conjunction with the Safe & Sober campaign.

Three random locations were observed tor 40 minute time frames at different areas of the city. A total of 201 front seat occupants of vehicles were observed to see if they were wearing their seatbelts. Of the 201 occupants, only 113 were buckled up.

In 1996, the overall safety belt use rate in the nation was 68 percent and an estimated 10,414 lives were saved by seatbelts. If every passenger vehicle front seat occupant had buckled up, an additional 9,754 deaths could have been prevented.

It is also estimated that if the nations average of 68 percent would 7reach 100 percent, the nation would save $13.2 billion annually. Rural areas accounted for 59 percent of all traffic fatalities in 1996.

Officer Galles of the Lester Prairie Police Department would like to remind drivers that, under Minnesota law, every front occupant of a vehicle must wear their seatbelt. Everyone under age 11 must also wear their seatbelt, no matter where they are sitting in the vehicle, and everyone under age four must be in a child safety seat in the rear of the vehicle. Violation of the seatbelt law in McLeod County is a $39.75 fine.

The final wave of the Safe & Sober campaign will be conducted from Aug. 30 through Sept. 13, with emphasis towards safe driving and speeding enforcement.

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