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Safety first buckle up

The importance of 'buckling up' has been a hot button topic recently and rightfully so.

In North Dakota, motor vehicle crashes are the number one cause of death among those ages 15-24.

Reinforcing the importance of seat belt safety, findings released by the North Dakota Department of Transportation office of traffic safety states that "the vast majority of those motor vehicle fatalities among young drivers in North Dakota are the result of driver behavior including speed, impaired driving, and lack of seat belt use."

In a move to do something about the latter, the West Fargo Police Department is partnering with the NDDOT and other law enforcement offices in a statewide Seatbelt Enforcement Blitz May 19 to June 1, as part of the national 'Click it or Ticket' seat belt campaign.

This marks the second blitz in a two-month timespan. During the first, officers worked 23.5 hours, stopped 50 motor vehicles and issued 39 citations and 19 warning tickets. Seventeen of the citations were for seatbelt violations and 14 for speed.

As many of you know, an officer can't simply stop you for not wearing a seat belt, unless you are transporting a passenger 18 years of age or younger that isn't buckled up. That becomes a primary enforcement issue and just cause for a stop. Otherwise, you would have to commit some other primary traffic violation in order to be stopped and cited.

The fine for not wearing a seat belt is $20. No big deal you might say.

It does become a big deal when an accident occurs. Statistics show that in rollover incidents occurring last winter, a number of the people killed because they were ejected from their vehicles could have been 'saved' if they would have been able to stay in their vehicle.

Simply stated, the degree of injury is much lower when you buckle up.

Definitely reason enough to do so.