During a statewide effort to get motorists to buckle up, law enforcement agencies in 26 counties issued 8,701 seat belt and child seat violation tickets, nearly 600 more citations than during last year's enforcement effort.
Preliminary reports from police agencies indicate 13,453 vehicles were stopped during the May 20-June 2 Click It or Ticket campaign. The enforcement is part of a national effort to save lives and reduce injuries by increasing seat belt use.
Following the state's record-high rate of 97.9 percent in 2009, seat belt use declined to 93.6 percent in 2012. Every 1 percent increase in belt use means 10 fewer traffic deaths and 130 fewer injuries. In 2012, 225 people who died in Michigan traffic crashes were not buckled up.
"Motorists were warned about the enforcement through advertising on the Internet, television and radio stations and through the media. Those that didn't heed the advice to 'click it' received a ticket," said Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning Director Michael L. Prince. "The bottom line is seat belts save lives and motorists need to buckle up every trip, every time."
In addition to seat belt violations, 15 drunk drivers were arrested during the enforcement period and 29 drug arrests were made. More than 1,000 tickets for uninsured motorists and 415 for suspended licenses were written.
In Eaton County, a seat belt stop resulted in the discovery of methamphetamine in the vehicle and the seizure of more than $30,000 in other drugs. Traffic stops in Taylor and Rockwood in Wayne County resulted in narcotics arrests and the forfeiture of more than $3,000.
Twelve people died in traffic crashes over the Memorial Day holiday period. Of those, three were not wearing a seat belt, two were motorcyclists, two were riding off-road vehicles along the roadway, one was riding a moped and one was a pedestrian. This is an increase from the 2012 Memorial Day holiday period when ten people were killed in traffic crashes.
Counties participating in the enforcement effort included: Allegan, Berrien, Calhoun, Chippewa, Delta, Eaton, Genesee, Grand Traverse, Houghton, Ingham, Jackson, Kalamazoo, Kent, Livingston, Macomb, Marquette, Monroe, Muskegon, Oakland, Ogemaw, Ottawa, Saginaw, St. Clair, Van Buren, Washtenaw and Wayne.
Officers will again take to the streets working stepped up drunk driving patrols July 1-7 and Aug. 16-Sept. 2, during the heavily traveled July Fourth and Labor Day holidays. Seat belt enforcement will also be a part of the Labor Day effort.