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Upgrading Minnesota’s Seat Belt Law. Nancy Franke Wilson Community Health Liaison Minnesota Department of Public Safety’s Office of Traffic Safety. Minnesota Traffic Crashes.

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upgrading minnesota s seat belt law

Upgrading Minnesota’s Seat Belt Law

Nancy Franke Wilson

Community Health Liaison

Minnesota Department of Public Safety’s

Office of Traffic Safety

minnesota traffic crashes

Minnesota Traffic Crashes

“In my 32 years with the Minneapolis Police Department I only saw one traffic accident. Lighting hit a tree and the tree hit a car; that was an accident.” Bob O’Brien, Law Enforcement Liaison, MN DPS

(Random House, Accident: Chance, Luck or Fortune)

by the end of the calendar year 2005
By the End of the Calendar Year 2005
  • The population of Minnesota approached 5.2 million.
  • There were almost 3.9 million licensed drivers.
  • Over 4.6 million motor vehicles were registered.
  • Almost 57 billion miles were driven.
the problem in 2005
The Problem: In 2005
  • 87,813 traffic crashes occurred
  • 221,835 people were involved
  • 161,683 motor vehicles were involved
  • 97,686 people were injured
  • 559 people died
  • Nearly $1.7 estimated economic cost to Minnesota
  • Nationally, traffic crashes cost $7,000 a second
who was involved
Who Was Involved?
  • Traffic crashes are the leading cause of death to people age 1 to 34.
  • 210 people (38%) under age 30 died in Minnesota in 2005.
  • 47% of people injured were under age 30.
  • Senior citizen drivers were involved in 7% of crashes but accounted for 15% of fatalities.
where do crashes happen
Where Do Crashes Happen?
  • Rural roads; permit high speeds and no interstate-type safety designs.
  • 70% of all fatal crashes occurred in rural areas.
  • 69% on trunk or county state aid highways.
  • Over two-third occur in areas with under 5,000 population.
on an average day in 2005
On an Average Day in 2005
  • 241 crashes
  • 1.6 deaths
  • 103 people injured
  • $4,565,139 average daily cost
why is belt use a public health concern
Why is belt use a public health concern?
  • Crashes are the leading cause of death for Minnesotans ages 1 through 34 years. (Center for Disease Control) Each year, the majority of those killed are unrestrained. (MN Dept. of Public Safety)
  • Crashes are the leading cause of traumatic brain injury (TBI). Victims of TBI require some of the most costly acute and long-term care in the state. Sixty-two percent of TBI/crash victims did not use seatbelts or child restraints. (Brain Injury Association)
why is belt use a public health concern9
Why is belt use a public health concern?
  • From 1998-2002, crashes killed more teens age 15 to 17 than the next four leading causes of death combined. On average, 75% of those teens were not restrained. (MN Dept. of Public Safety)
  • More children die in crashes than from all childhood diseases combined. (Center for Disease Control).
why is belt use an economic concern
Why is belt use an economic concern?
  • Between 1998 and 2002, 34,000 unbelted vehicle occupants were injured or killed in Minnesota crashes. The estimated cost to society from those injuries was $1.9 billion; so 13% of total crash costs are for medical treatment. (Based on National Safety Council cost estimates)
  • Traffic crashes are the leading cause of workplace fatalities. (MN Dept. of Labor and Industry)
  • Crash victims who are not wearing seat belts have medical bills that are 50% higher than those victims who wore a belt. Society bears 74% of those costs through increased insurance premiums, taxes and health care and insurance costs. (NHTSA)
occupant protection
Occupant Protection
  • Seat belts are the most effective safety devices in vehicles.
  • In potentially fatal crashes they increase your chance of survival by 45% in a car and 60% in a light truck.
occupant protection12
Occupant Protection
  • Without wearing a seat belt, a 35 m.p.h. crash is the equivalent of falling from a third-story window.
  • If you are in the back seat and not belted in a crash, your body becomes a lethal object moving forward with enough force to break the back of someone riding in the front or to cause brain injury.
minnesota s safety belt laws
Minnesota’s Safety Belt Laws
  • Requires all front seat passengers and all passengers under the age of eleven to wear safety belts.
  • Became effective in Minnesota on August 1, 1986.
  • Fine for not wearing a safety belt is $25.
  • Amended in 1988 and 1991.
what is standard universal
What is Standard Universal?
  • Primary means “standard” — the same status as every other state law. Minnesota’s current secondary seat belt law cannot be enforced directly. Upgrading to primary will allow enforcement of this important law like every other traffic law.
why upgrade the law
Why Upgrade the Law?
  • It’s a no-cost and big-savings law.
  • It will save lives (more than 40) and serious injuries (more than 400) every year in Minnesota.
  • It will save on health care costs. According to NHTSA, unbelted crash victims have medical bills 50% higher than belted victims.
why upgrade the law17
Why Upgrade the Law?
  • Studies have found that states that pass a primary seat belt law increase average seat belt usage by nine to 14 percentage points.
  • This, in turn, decreases crash fatalities by an average of eight percent and decreases the severity of injuries in crashes.
why upgrade the law19
Why Upgrade the Law?
  • Minnesota will receive over $15 million in federal incentive funds.
  • Most Minnesotans want a primary seat belt law. (71% according to the 2005 Minnesota State Survey.)
  • It is straightforward law enforcement. Law enforcement officers can see violation and take direct action.
why upgrade the law20
Why Upgrade the Law?
  • Adults who do not buckle up are sending a message to children that it is all right not to use seat belts—the probability of a fatally injured child being unrestrained is more than twice as likely when the adult driving was unrestrained. (Starnes, 2003)
why upgrade the law21
Why Upgrade the Law?
  • If Minnesota increased its seat belt use rate by 10 percentage points from the current rate of 84 percent to 94 percent, the cumulative charge savings to all government payer (taxpayer-funded) sources is projected to be $85.2 million by 2015, and the cumulative charge savings to all payer sources would be nearly $190 million.
arguments against
Arguments Against
  • Seat belt use is a personal choice and should not be legislated. It affects no one but me.
  • If Minnesota enacts a universal standard enforcement seat belt law, it will open the door for "differential enforcement" or racial profiling, making traffic stops based only on ethnicity.
arguments against23
Arguments Against
  • I’ll take my risks…after all, it’s my neck, and my health care expenses.
  • Safety belts are uncomfortable and wrinkle my clothes.
  • People who don’t wear them now won’t be more inclined to wear a safety belt if the law is upgraded.
why upgrade the law24
Why Upgrade the Law?
  • It’s a no-cost and big-savings law.
  • It will save lives (more than 40) and serious injuries (more than 400) every year in Minnesota.
  • It will save on health care costs. According to NHTSA, unbelted crash victims have medical bills 50% higher than belted victims.
why upgrade the law25
Why Upgrade the Law?
  • Studies have found that states that pass a primary seat belt law increase average seat belt usage by nine to 14 percentage points.
  • This, in turn, decreases crash fatalities by an average of eight percent and decreases the severity of injuries in crashes.
what can i do
What Can I Do?
  • Join the Minnesota Safety Belt Coalition
  • Share this information.

http://www.mnsafetycouncil.org/sbcoalition/action.pdf

contact information
Contact information:

Nancy Franke Wilson, MS

4190 Vinewood Lane N

Suite 111-416

Plymouth, MN 55442

763-545-2684 office

763-360-3875 cell

nancyfranke@comcast.net