MICHIGAN SAFETY BELT USE RISES AGAIN
94 PERCENT OF MOTORISTS BUCKLING UP IN 2006
July 6, 2006
For the fifth consecutive year, safety belt use has increased in Michigan, with the latest direct observation survey showing that 94 percent of motorists and their front seat passengers buckle up, according to the Wayne State University Transportation Research Group.
This is the highest rate ever recorded in the state, and puts Michigan among the highest belt use states in the country. The survey took place following the statewide Buckle Up or Pay Up/Click It or Ticket safety belt enforcement mobilization. This year’s campaign introduced new TV ads, including a spot aimed at high school teens, as well as an additional week of enforcement in more rural areas of the state.
"The continual increase in safety belt use is heartening news," said Col. Peter C. Munoz, director of the Michigan State Police. "This mobilization is a brief but massive effort to remind motorists of the importance of buckling up. I have no doubt this increase will save lives and spare others the pain of a serious injury."
The official figure was derived from trained observers who measure safety belt use from locations throughout the state. More specific and detailed survey information will be available in six to eight weeks.
Safety belt use first climbed above 90 percent in 2003, reaching 90.5 percent. Last year, belt use jumped again, that time to 92.9 percent.
Safety belt use rates vary across the country. Last year, Hawaii had the highest rate at 95.3 percent and Mississippi the lowest with 60.8 percent. As of 2005, Michigan was the only state east of the Rockies with a belt use rate of 90 percent or greater.
Michigan experienced a significant increase in safety belt use in 2000 when the state’s primary enforcement law took effect. Belt use went from 70 percent with a secondary enforcement law to 83.5 percent that year. Belt use dipped slightly in 2001 but has increased every year since 2002.