School assembly reminds students to ride in restraints

    To kick off the statewide Click it or Ticket extra seat belt enforcement  campaign, the Minnesota State Patrol, Polk County Public Health,  Polk County Sheriff’s Office, Polk County Toward Zero Deaths Coalition and Northwest Minnnesota Toward Zero Deaths partners held an assembly with more than 300  Fosston Elementary School students to honor two classmates for being “Saved by the Belt.”

    Emilee and Jakob Rudie recently survived a crash, where their vehicle rolled several times. Before the crash ever took place, Angie Rudie made sure her children were properly restrained in their booster seats.  

    “It can happen in a second. If they were  not buckled, they may not be here today,” said Angie Rudie, Jakob and Emilee’s mom. “ I had marks on my neck from my seatbelt. We rolled probably six times. It was probably a second after we landed when I had to turn around and check on my kids ....it was the longest second of my life. And they were ok. Nothing mattered after that.”

Extra Enforcement Now on Minnesota Roads

    To continue enforcing the law and reminding motorists that seat belts save lives, law enforcement across northeast Minnesota will join more than 300 law enforcement agencies across the state participating in the Click It or Ticket campaign now through  June 4. The extra enforcement and education campaign is coordinated by the Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety.

Buckle Up, Every Seat, Every Time

    Parents should not start the engine untile everyone in the vehicle is properly belted.

    “It’s the parents responsibility to properly secure their children in the vehicle every trip, every time,” said Angie Rudie.

    “Jakob is 8 and I still make sure he rides in a booster seat. Emilee is small for her age and is still in a five-point harness,” according to Rudie. “When we were in the crash, Emilee didn't move. Her booster seat stayed in the same place. When we landed, Emilee said, Mom, go get my shoe.  I asked, Where is your shoe? When we started rolling, it flew out the window, Emilee said. All I could think about was, it could have been Emilee.”

    “Please wear your seatbelt – and make sure your children ride in booster seats, car seats and seatbelts – because you are very important to a lot of people who love you,” Rudie said.

The Good News and Bad News

    Fortunately, most Minnesotans are making the life-saving decision to buckle up.

    • In 2016, preliminary numbers show 79 unbelted motorists lost their lives on Minnesota roads.

    • Since TZD’s inception in 2003, traffic-related deaths have declined by 40 percent. More than half of all deaths occurring on Minnesota roads occur on rural roads. Unbelted crashes continue to be higher in rural areas.

    The Northwest Minnesota Toward Zero Deaths program brings area law enforcement, public health educators, engineers and emergency medical and trauma services together to reduce the number of traffic fatalities and severe injuries to zero in northeast Minnesota. The 11-county area encompasses: Beltrami, Clearwater, Hubbard, Kittson, Lake of the Woods, Polk, Pennington, Marshall, Norman, Red Lake and Roseau.