Seat Belt Numbers Down
The National Strategy on Highway Safety is blowing the whistle on seat belt use in Michigan. According to a press release on Tuesday, the numbers for seat belt compliance in Michigan are at their lowest point in the last 17 years.
According to results from a grant-funded direct observation study, conducted by Michigan State University, Michigan seat belt use has decreased from 94.4 percent in 2019 to 92.6 percent in 2021. This marks the lowest seat belt compliance rate since 2004.
“The seat belt use numbers are moving in the wrong direction, and it’s important to turn things around as quickly as possible,” said Michael L. Prince, director of the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning (OHSP). “Seat belts are the cornerstone of any effective traffic safety strategy. We must continually remind drivers and passengers of all ages to buckle up, every trip, every time.”
This survey coincides with recent results from the Michigan State Police Criminal Justice Information Center, that Michigan traffic deaths are above 1,000 for the first time in three years. The 1,083 fatalities in 2020 show a 10% increase from 2019. Continuing the trend, this also marks the most traffic fatalities in Michigan since 2007. Preliminary numbers from 2021 show that the pace of fatalities is increasing.
To help combat these numbers, the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning is funding a statewide campaign to enforce seat belt and impaired driving laws. That campaign runs through July 24th. The OHSP also has a paid advertising effort encouraging rear seat belt use, including a video titled “Backseat Excuses.”