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Saving 65 bucks is easy: just buckle up

Police on the lookout for unbelted drivers

Officers in West Michigan will again take to the streets for the annual Click it or Ticket seatbelt mobilization May 24-June 6.

The enforcement effort, aimed at reaching the small percentage of people in the state who do not buckle up, is paid for with federal highway safety funds administered by the Office of Highway Safety Planning (OHSP).

Stepped up seat belt enforcement and paid advertising have led Michigan to claim the highest belt use rate in the country two years in a row, most recently 97.9 percent in 2009. However, nearly half of all vehicle occupants killed in car crashes are unbelted.

According to Michael L. Prince, director of the OHSP, of the nearly 600 killed in traffic crashes last year, slightly more than 300 were unbelted. “Buckling up can cut the risk of serious injury or death in a crash in half, so it’s very likely many of those individuals would be alive today if they had worn their seat belt,” he said.

Prince noted that while most people are buckling up, there are still some holdouts. “This enforcement is a reminder to those people,” he explained. “We hope the $65 price tag will be reason enough to encourage them to buckle up.”

Michigan law requires all drivers and front seat passengers to wear seat belts, and all children under 16 to be buckled regardless of where they sit.

Officers in many counties will participate in the campaign, including Cedar Springs Police, who will have an extra car out during the evening hours.

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