Nearly 3,000 of your fellow residents and/or visitors to the Great Lakes State apparently figured that the suggestion to fasten your seat belts while driving was just that -- a suggestion. Rather than be bothered with hassling over a seat belt, those folks will be bothered with paying their traffic fines or more after being caught up in the annual Memorial Day Click It or Ticket dragnet this spring.
With Michigan’s Click It or Ticket enforcement campaign now complete, preliminary reports indicate law enforcement officers from 109 local police departments, sheriff offices, and Michigan State Police (MSP) posts in 38 counties conducted 8,145 traffic stops resulting in 2,930 seat belt and child restraint citations between May 20th and June 2nd.
In addition to issuing seat belt violations, officers during the Click It or Ticket campaign, issued 693 speeding citations, made 13 alcohol-related arrests, and 45 other felony arrests.
In one instance, a deputy from the Calhoun County Sheriff’s office pulled over a vehicle for driving in the wrong lane, almost going head-on with another vehicle. Upon investigation, the driver had multiple warrants and was arrested for operating under the influence of alcohol. In another incident, a trooper from the Michigan State Police Wayland Post made one traffic stop that led to four misdemeanor arrests, three felony arrests, and four fugitive warrants.
Michael Prince is Director of the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning. He says, “Thank you to all the law enforcement officers who are working hard to encourage seat belt use – every trip, every time,” and adds, “Motorists need to remember that buckling up is the easiest thing they can do to reduce traffic fatalities and injuries on Michigan roads. Our goal is to save lives, not write tickets.”
Seat belt use in Michigan stands at 93.4-percent, slightly higher than the national seat belt use rate of 89.6-percent in 2018, according to the statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Buckling up can reduce the risk of serious injury or death by 45-percent.
The Click or Ticket effort is funded through federal highway safety grants and coordinated by the Office of Highway Safety Planning. Michigan law requires drivers, front seat passengers, and passengers aged 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” and children under 4 years old must be in the backseat.