Otter Tail County coalition urges motorists to buckle up

As everyone knows, Minnesota has a primary seat belt law. This means that every person riding in a vehicle has to be buckled up. Law enforcement can stop a vehicle for no other reason than someone in the vehicle not wearing a seat belt. Even if a passenger is not belted, law enforcement can stop a vehicle, and a ticket can cost more than $100.

The Otter Tail County Safe Communities Coalition would like to stress that this law is first and foremost a law to ensure motorists are traveling safely. The facts are clear that a seat belt is your best defense in a crash — especially when our roads are still threatened with speeding, distracted and impaired drivers. The Coalition has seen the results of far too many crashes involving unbelted motorists and the deaths and injuries involved — ranging from teeth busted out on the steering wheel to being ejected from the vehicle and killed.

The true enforcement of this law begins with you. If you are traveling in a car, either as the driver or a passenger, it’s your job to speak up and insist everyone is buckled up. This is important not just because it’s the law but for safety — in a crash, unbelted passengers can slam into and injure or kill others in a vehicle.

There will be extra law enforcement patrols in Otter Tail County from October 14 -29 looking for unbelted drivers or their passengers.  Most people they find and ticket will be traveling on the roads.  Let’s hope they don’t find a few laying in ditches or fields along the highway as a result of being unbuckled and ejected in a crash as well.

For more information about the Safe Communities Coalition, please contact Jane Neubauer, Coordinator, at 218-731-4163 or by email at

Cameron Dean

Member of the Otter Tail Safe Communities Coalition

Ringdahl Ambulance