by Joni Astrup
Sherburne County ranks better than most counties in Minnesota when it comes to seat belt use and traffic fatalities.
During 2008–2010 in Minnesota, there were 932 vehicle occupants killed in traffic crashes and 409 were not buckled up (44 percent).
In that same time period in Sherburne County, there were 20 vehicle occupants killed in traffic accidents; four were not buckled up (20 percent).
The Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) released the numbers as part of a study of the state’s counties with the highest percentage of unbelted traffic deaths.
“We’ve made great progress to improve the state’s seat belt use, yet in many parts of the state motorists are making the poor choice to travel unbelted, and they are paying the ultimate price for taking that risk,” said Donna Berger, acting director of the DPS Office of Traffic Safety.
Counties with the highest percentage of unbelted traffic deaths (for counties with three or more traffic deaths during the study period) were Kanabec and Wadena (100 percent), Redwood (83 percent), Lac qui Parle (80 percent) and Brown (75 percent).
Counties with the lowest percentage of unbelted traffic deaths were Carlton and Dodge (0 percent), Wabasha (13 percent), Renville (14 percent) and Blue Earth and Sherburne (20 percent).
Here’s how other area counties compare:
•Anoka County ranked 23rd. It had 25 traffic deaths; nine were unbuckled (36 percent)
•Hennepin County ranked 25th. It had 90 vehicle occupants killed in traffic crashes; 34 were not buckled up (38 percent).
•Mille Lacs County ranked 40th. It had eight traffic deaths; four were unbuckled (50 percent).
•Wright County ranked 49th. It had 22 vehicle occupants killed in traffic crashes; 12 were not buckled up (55 percent).
by Joni Astrup