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Buckle-Up and get a T-Shirt

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A nationwide effort to promote seat-belt use, which got its start in our region 20-years ago, has new life.

Tonight, as part of a "Minnesota-wide" kick-off to the fall "Click it or Ticket" campaign.... retired Trooper Dave's T-shirts are again the reward.

Minnesota State Trooper Jesse Grabow tonight will use a cannon to shoot the special shirts into the stands at a racetrack in Fergus Falls.

"Here we have someone wearing a seat belt, that is good," Sgt. Jesse Grabow of the Minnesota State Patrol, said.

Those pulling into the Moorhead rest area, got a little surprise visit from the man in maroon.

"How are you today, I see you are wearing a seat belt, that is good," Grabow said, speaking with a driver of an RV.

For wearing their seatbelts, drivers and passengers got the freshly printed T-shirt from Minnesota State Trooper Jesse Grabow,

who is getting the word out about the upcoming campaign to urge more seat belt use. Last year in Minnesota, 78-people died in crashes who were not wearing seat belts.

"What do we have around the corner? Winter, so roads are going to be changing, ice, slippery, wet roads and we really want to always be buckling up, but especially when the conditions are not ideal," Grabow said.

The idea of rewarding drivers with Tshirts got its start two decades ago. At the time, Trooper Dave Bulik started the project which caught on nation-wide.

"Could not help but notice you have your seat belt on," Grabow said to another driver.

Now, during the next two weeks, as extra enforcement begins on Minnesota highways, troopers hope people will take that extra 2 seconds to click it.

In the last four years alone, in the state of Minnesota, 18 children have died in car crashes, and only half were properly restrained.

"And it is not an issue of not being buckled up, but doing it not properly. Parents think they are doing the right thing but they maybe didn't take the time to educate themselves and get the training to make sure they are properly buckling up. When you are transporting our most precious cargo, we have to make sure we are doing it properly," Grabow said.

And Public Safety experts say, seat belts, not air bags are the single most effective choice for protection in a crash.

In Minnesota last year, 32-percent of all fatal crashes, involved someone not wearing a seat belt.

In Minnesota, 92% buckle up. In North Dakota, 80% of drivers do.