Safety belt enforcement zones begin today; State seeks to regain record setting seat belt use rate
For the next two weeks, motorists will see safety belt enforcement zones pop up across the state during the annual Click It or Ticket enforcement campaign that seeks to turn around a drop in seat belt use.
Following the state's record-high rate of 97.9 percent in 2009, seat belt use has declined to 94.5 percent in 2011. Every 1 percent increase in belt use means 10 fewer traffic deaths and 130 fewer injuries.
In 2011, nearly 200 people who died in traffic crashes were not using seat belts. Research shows when seat belts are used properly, the risk of being killed in a crash is reduced by nearly 45 percent.
"The Click It or Ticket campaign is one of the reasons Michigan has always been a leader in reducing traffic fatalities through a high seat belt use rate," said Michael L. Prince, Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning (OHSP) director. "Since their introduction, seat belts have saved lives, and we want people to take advantage of this simple yet effective safety device."
For more than 40 years, the seat belt has been the primary safety feature in vehicles. To highlight the long, life-saving history of seat belts, news event are taking place in car museums across the state.
Local police departments, sheriff offices and Michigan State Police posts covering 26 counties are participating in the Click It or Ticket enforcement campaign which runs through June 3 and includes the Memorial Day holiday. The effort is supported with federal traffic safety funds, administered by OHSP, allowing for additional police officers to be out on patrol.
Last year, nine people died over the Memorial Day holiday period. Of those, three were not wearing a seat belt.
A safety belt enforcement zone involves law enforcement officers serving as spotters on the lookout for unbuckled motorists. The information is provided to other officers in the zone who pull over the motorists and issue a citation. Each enforcement zone is marked with a large sign.
In addition to the safety belt enforcement zones, the Click It or Ticket campaign includes promotion through radio, television, cable and internet advertising.
Michigan law requires all drivers 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 feet 9 inches tall.
A list of planned safety belt enforcement zones is available at www.michigan.gov/ohsp.
Related Documents> Graphic: Seat Belt History in the U.S. and Michigan - 330015 bytes