State Trooper hit Pierz gridiron to ‘go deep’ with a buckle up message

A new Minnesota State Patrol initiative is being launched — literally —at high school football games with the goal of encouraging teens make the right play by buckling their seat belts.

Troopers will use T-shirt blasters at high school football games this season to pass an important message intended for high school students to catch: Wear your seat belt.

The first T-shirt launching event for the Brainerd District will be Thursday, Aug. 29, at the Pierz Healy High School game, during half-time.

These events are being held because traffic crashes are the leading killer of Minnesota teens due to inexperience, risk-taking, distractions and low seat belt compliance. In the past five years, 203 teens were killed in crashes, and of those, 165 were vehicle occupants, of which only 67 (41 percent) were belted.

Another component of the campaign is to encourage parents to understand their role in developing safer teen drivers. Parents should talk to their teen to reinforce driving laws such as always buckling up — in front and back seats —  and stress that it is illegal to text and drive, including when stopped in traffic. Drivers under age 18 are also banned from any cell phone use.

Parents should also enforce passenger and nighttime driving limitations laws. Teen drivers may not have more than one passenger under age 20 during their first six months of licensure, unless accompanied by a parent.