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Minnesota Primary Seat Belt Law Saves Lives and Money
The University of Minnesota’s Center for Excellence in Rural Safety (CERS) has published a report looking at the impacts of Minnesota’s primary seat belt law. In the spring of 2009, Minnesota upgraded its seat belt law to make failure to buckle up a primary offense.
The study estimates that the primary seat belt law has resulted in between 68 and 92 fewer deaths and between 320 and 550 fewer severe injuries in the two years since the law went into effect. This translates to savings of at least $45 million in hospital charges, including about $10 million in tax dollars that would have paid for expenses charged to government insurers.
To determine these figures, researchers analyzed data from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety’s Crash Records Database. They compared actual crash data from July 2009 to June 2011 to expected data, based on prior trends.
The report also looks at seat belt use and public opinion surveys, finding that more than 70% of Minnesotans support the primary seat belt law. Statewide, observed seat belt use has risen from 86.7% in 2008 to a record 92.7% in 2011.
Download the complete report at: