National Transportation Safety Board
Office of Public Affairs
WASHINGTON, DC - National Transportation Safety Board Acting Chairman Mark V. Rosenker today praised Minnesota's governor and legislature for enacting a primary seat belt law and a booster seat law.
"Additional lives will be saved on Minnesota highways because these necessary, lifesaving bills will become law," Rosenker said.
The new primary enforcement law gives law enforcement officials the authority to stop vehicles and issue a ticket if any occupant in a vehicle is not wearing a seat belt. Under the current law, another offense has to be committed before the vehicle can be stopped and the driver ticketed if he or the front seat passenger is not wearing a seat belt.
Additionally, the new law requires passengers in all seating positions (not just the front seat) to use their seat belt. Minnesota is now the 21st state to provide this protection for all passenger vehicle occupants. Seat belt usage in rear seats is 20 percent higher in States with laws requiring seat belt use in all seating positions.
Currently, the belt use rate in Minnesota is 86.7 percent and as a result 282 lives are saved annually. "While this is above the national use rate of 83 percent, the impact on families and the state is still great," Rosenker said. If Minnesota had a 100 percent belt use rate 67 more lives would be saved, 1,325 injuries would be prevented and the state would save more than $196 million in health cost each year.
The newly signed booster seat law requires children up to age 8 and shorter than 4 feet 9 inches to be in a child restraint system or booster seat. Currently, Minnesota requires children age 3 and younger to use child restraints.
NTSB Media Contact:
Terry N. Williams
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is an independent federal agency charged with determining the probable cause
of transportation accidents, promoting transportation safety, and assisting victims of transportation accidents and their families.