Make buckling up part of your summer routine
As the weather turns warmer and Michigan families look toward the travel season, police departments, Sheriff’s offices and the Michigan State Police will be conducting extra patrols across the state to encourage seat belt use.
The stepped up enforcement is part of the national Click It or Ticket campaign May 23-June 5. Research shows when seat belts are used properly, the risk of being killed in a crash is reduced by nearly 45 percent. The life-saving properties of a seat belt are more important than ever with recent data indicating Michigan crashes have increased in severity.
“This campaign is about achieving 100 percent voluntary compliance with the state’s mandatory seat belt law with zero citations issued,” said Michael L. Prince, Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning (OHSP) director. “Seven percent of those surveyed still are not wearing seat belts and that only increases the risk of serious injury or death.”
The campaign seeks to save lives by increasing seat belt use. For many drivers, stepped up enforcement and the threat of a ticket are greater incentives to buckle up than the risk of death or injury in a crash.
During last year’s Click It or Ticket enforcement, 6,113 seat belt and child seat citations were issued. Eight people died in traffic crashes during the 2015 Memorial Day holiday period, including three fatalities in one crash in Calhoun County and an unbelted driver in Ottawa County.
Michigan law requires drivers, front seat passengers, and passengers 15 and younger in any seating position to be buckled up. Children must be in a car seat or booster seat until they are 8 years old or 4’9” tall, and children under 4 years old must be in the back seat.
OHSP coordinates the Click It or Ticket effort which is supported with federal funds. Grant-funded seat belt enforcement is part of Michigan’s Strategic Highway Safety Plan signed by Gov. Rick Snyder in 2013.