No seatbelt? If you get pulled over, you're getting a ticket. The South Dakota Highway Patrol is using strict enforcement to encourage more people to buckle-up.

When conducting a traffic stop, Highway Patrol troopers will issue a seatbelt citation to all unrestrained occupants in accordance with state law plus the primary traffic violation. Superintendent of the Highway Patrol Colonel Craig Price  says this is part of an increased statewide effort to heighten awareness about the need to wear seatbelts.

“One of our main objectives is to encourage more people to wear their seatbelts,” he says. “In the last five years, 62  percent of all South Dakota fatalities in motor vehicle crashes were not wearing seatbelts. That is way too many.”

Seatbelt education and enforcement are major goals for the Department of Public Safety, which has partnered with the Department of Health on the statewide effort. Lee Axdahl, director of the Office of Highway Safety, says both departments are working together to increase seatbelt usage.

“Nobody gets up in the morning thinking this will be their last day,” Axdahl says. “We want to use this effort as a way to urge more people to buckle up so they can get home safely to their loved ones.”

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