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Published May 21, 2011, 05:21 PM

Area Law Enforcement Agencies Increase Seat Belt Enforcement

Like many people, a Grand Forks woman doesn't always remember to buckle up when going on a trip. But local law enforcement are cracking down.

Like many people, a Grand Forks woman doesn't always remember to buckle up when going on a trip. But local law enforcement are cracking down.

It's all part of the national Click It Or Ticket campaign.

21-year-old Sam Denault doesn't always remember to fasten her seat belt even after seeing firsthand what can happen in a crash.

"I do have a couple of friends whose sister passed away for not wearing her seat belt and a drunk driver hit her," Denault said.

Knowing what her friends went through, Denault admits to buckling up more often, but not all the time.

"Not so much in town because Grand Forks is so small, you can get where you need to go in 5 or 10 minutes that you just don't think about it right away, but usually I do," Denault said.

North Dakota law enforcement along with the DOT are informing people like Denault to wear their seat belts everytime they get behind the wheel.

"Last year we had 105 fatalities, of those 80 people died in instances where a seat belt would have come into play, the other 25 would have been motorcycle or pedestrian crashes, and of those 80 fatalities, 57 were not buckled," North Dakota Highway Patrol sargeant Aaron Hummel said.

Increased seat belt enforcement will start this week with all area law enforcement working overtime to ensure safety on the roadways.

"All of the departments in the area and the state, many of them will have extra officers on patrol to work specifically in the area of seatbelt enforcement," Hummel said.

The Grand Forks Police Department will have two extra officers working four to five hours a day looking for seatbelt violations.

The DOT started a Facebook page with safe driving tips and a place for people like Denault to share their stories.

"I think it would encourage it, encourage everybody to wear a seatbelt if somebody was to sit somebody down and be like this is what happens when you don't wear it," Denault said.

The increased seat belt enforcement will run May 23rd through June 5th.

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