Click It or Ticket reminder messages underway
Warning: Unbuckled Motorists May Experience a Travel Delay

Contact: Anne Readett, OHSP, 517-241-2569
Agency: State Police

Michigan travel advisory: safety belt enforcement zones start next week.

To avoid delay: buckle up.

The first phase of the annual Click It or Ticket enforcement mobilization began today with an advertising campaign designed to remind motorists of upcoming enforcement. The goal is to increase seat belt use to reduce traffic deaths and injuries.

“Just like drivers plan for road closures and construction, we’re also reminding people they’ll be encountering safety belt enforcement zones and extra enforcement next week. To ensure smooth travel, simply buckle up,” said Michael L. Prince, Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning (OHSP) director.

In recent years the state’s seat belt use rate has fallen from a high of 97.9 percent in 2009 to 93 percent last year. Since that all-time-high belt use rate, the state’s traffic deaths have increased from 871 in 2009 to 951 in 2013.

Prince added, “Every 1 percent drop in belt use means about 10 additional traffic deaths. Absolutely no one is expendable. These are more than numbers; these are family, friends, neighbors and co-workers. Traffic safety is community safety.”

The brief but intense advertising component ensures motorists are aware of extra enforcement. The combination of education and enforcement is well documented as the most effective means to raise seat belt use. While messages will be seen throughout the state, the campaign is focused in the metro Detroit, west Michigan and the tri-county areas and includes TV, cable, radio and Internet sites as well as billboards.

The goal, according to Prince, is to bring belt use back up to 98 percent.

Last year during the seat belt mobilization, officers issued more than 9,000 seat belt citations but also found drunk drivers, motorists with suspended licenses and made misdemeanor and felony arrests.

Federal traffic safety funds support the advertising and enforcement push; the money cannot be directed for other, non-traffic safety purposes.