Michigan police wrote over 8,000 citations for seat belt law violations during a recent seat belt crackdown statewide. That was nearly 1,000 fewer seat belt tickets than all of last year, reports The Detroit News. Across 26 Michigan counties, 8,050 seat belt and child seat violation tickets were written, and 14,761 vehicles were stopped between May 21 and June 3.
Fewer seat belt wearers
After ascending to a record high of 97.9 percent of Michigan drivers wearing seat belts in 2009, law enforcement records indicate that the percentage of seat belt users among Michigan drivers dipped to 94.5 last year. It is estimated by state police that for every 1 percent increase in seat belt use, there are 10 fewer traffic fatalities and 130 fewer injuries.
In 2011, of those who died in automotive crashes (889, up from 937 in 2010) in Michigan, nearly 200 weren’t buckled up. On the bright side, however, the fatality total was 5 percent lower than the previous year, even if the number of total crashes was up by 1 percent.
“When properly used, seat belts can reduce the risk of being killed in a crash by almost 50 percent,” said Michael Prince of Michigan’s Office of Highway Safety Planning. “Efforts like Click It or Ticket are an opportunity to remind motorists about the importance of buckling up.”
Traffic tickets by the numbers
Between May 21 and June, Michigan police also caught 95 drunk drivers, and arrested 53 drivers under the influence of other drugs. Over 1,000 uninsured motorist tickets were written during that period, as well as 535 for drivers with suspended licenses. One traffic stop in Detroit even led to the arrest of a federal fugitive, according to The Detroit News.
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Spreading the word on highway safety
Michigan State Police spread word before the seat belt crackdown.
“What was different? Strict enforcement of the seat belt law,” said Betty Mercer of the state police’s Office of Highway Safety Planning. “Word went out to the public from their local law enforcement agencies that verbal warnings just weren’t changing behavior so tickets would be written.”