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Red Lake: Tribal police to take part in buckle-up campaign

The Red Lake Tribal Council has passed a resolution requiring seat belt use for all vehicle occupants beginning July 1.

Currently, the seat belt resolution only applies to children on the Red Lake Reservation, Red Lake Director of Public Safety William Brunelle said. Also, children 4 years old and younger must be in an appropriate car seat. However, he said, Red Lake Police will participate in the May 18-31 statewide Safe & Sober - Click It or Ticket enforcement effort, in part to remind drivers of the upcoming change in rules.

Brunelle issued a press release noting that no motorists were killed on the Red Lake Reservation as of April this year, but over the last three years, 10 motorists died because of traffic accidents on the Red Lake Reservation. Statewide over the last three years, 1,096 motorists were killed in crashes, with 518 unbelted and another 1,151 unbelted motorists seriously injured.

"Increased seat belt patrols are essential to preventing needless tragedies," Brunelle said. "But enforcement can't save lives. Every motorist should insist their passengers buckle up to ensure a safe ride."

He said the Click It or Ticket campaign will focus on teens and young adults, the group least likely to buckle up and who are overrepresented in traffic deaths. Statewide each year, those 15-29 - the group representing 25 percent of all licensed drivers - account for 45 percent of all unbelted deaths.

The Red Lake Police will also conduct special night sobriety checkpoints. Red Lake officers are members of one of the 400 law enforcement agencies statewide to participate in the state's Toward Zero Death initiative.