Farmington police put focus on seatbelt useFarmington police chief Brian Lindquist got out of his office and on the road Monday. It’s something he doesn’t get to do often, but this week was an exception. Monday was the kick off to Safe and Sober’s Click it or Ticket campaign. It’s an annual campaign that focuses specifically on seatbelt use.
By: Michelle Leonard, The Farmington Independent
Farmington police chief Brian Lindquist got out of his office and on the road Monday. It’s something he doesn’t get to do often, but this week was an exception.
Monday was the kick off to Safe and Sober’s Click it or Ticket campaign. It’s an annual campaign that focuses specifically on seatbelt use. The program is funded by state and federal money, which allows departments like Farmington to put extra patrols out to look for drivers who are not wearing their seatbelts.
Click it or Ticket is conducted around this time every year to coincide with things like prom, Memorial Day travels, the graduation season and the start to summer vacations. It’s a time when more people are going out on the road, and it’s the right time to remind them to wear their seatbelts.
“It’s just a reinforcement to the driving. There is nothing more important I can tell you as a driver than to wear your seatbelt,” Lindquist said.
Lindquist said police chiefs around Dakota County typically participate in the kickoff event, which was what Monday’s enforcement was. For his part, Lindquist made six stops. In three of them, he issued citations to drivers for not wearing their seatbelts.
There are fines attached to the citations for a good reason. It’s an effort to make drivers stop and think before driving off without wearing their seatbelts, Lindquist said. Unfortunately, he added, in a lot of cases, the citations will only alter a driver’s habits for up to six months.
But it’s in those six months that new habits can be formed, which is what Lindquist hopes to see out of campaigns like Click it or Ticket.
“When you talk about the number of deaths from people not wearing them … it’s just so avoidable,” he said. “Once you leave the confines of your car, you are a rocket heading right into a fence or a rock or a ditch. They are going to stop you. That’s the whole theory of wearing the seatbelt. You have to stay in your car.”
The campaign puts extra officers on the streets to look for seatbelt infractions, but even after the campaign is over, seatbelt use is a priority for officers.
“We never stop enforcing the law. We are always looking for seatbelts. This just happens to be the campaign kickoff,” Lindquist said. “We never stop, as a group, looking for infractions. For us, this is just business as normal.”
Five extra officers were out on patrol Monday in Farmington. On Tuesday, Lindquist had not seen totals for stops in the community.