Law enforcement is ramping up patrols to encourage Montanans to buckle up.

Department of Transportation reports seat belt usage down and fatalities up on Montana roads.

As Memorial Day and the busy summer travel season approach, extra patrols are part of the national “Click It, Don’t Risk It” seat belt enforcement effort, from May 20 through June 2, 2013.

A recent Montana Department of Transportation survey reports that in 2012 seat belt usage was down, with an increase in fatalities due to lack of seat belt use.

Preliminary numbers show 78 percent of those who died in crashes on Montana roads so far this year were not wearing seat belts.

Montana law requires that all drivers and passengers wear seat belts. While drivers cannot be pulled over solely for violating the seat belt law, they will be fined $20 per unrestrained occupant if stopped for another violation and seat belts aren’t being worn.

Montana drivers will be stopped if children under 6 years of age are not properly restrained even if no other traffic violation has been cited and will be fined $100 for each child not restrained properly.

Montana law requires that each child under age 6 and weighing less than 60 pounds be properly restrained in a child safety seat.

Research shows that keeping children in booster seats until they are 4 feet, 9 inches tall keeps them safer.

Children under age 13 should always ride in the back seat.


The risk of getting into a serious crash is just as great whether driving across town, on a country road or across the state. Seventy-five percent of all serious motor vehicle crashes occur within 25 miles of a person’s home, and 80 percent of deaths and serious injuries occur in cars that are traveling under 40 miles per hour.

The chances of being killed are four times greater if a person is thrown from the vehicle.

Three out of four car seats are not properly used.

Tips and Tools:

Speak up and remind everyone in the car to buckle up before getting on the road.

Learn how to properly install and use child safety restraints, or consult an expert at an inspection station:

Share one of these Myth Crashers videos to show just what happens if not buckled up:

Source:  Montana Dept. Of Transportation