In 2017, Michigan’s seat belt usage rate was 94 percent, state officials said. The national seat belt usage rate last year was 89.7 percent.
“Our ultimate goal is 100 percent compliance with the state’s seat belt law — this Memorial Day holiday weekend and throughout the year,” said Michael L. Prince, director of the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning. “Not only is buckling up the law, but it also saves lives. It’s important that everyone remembers — front-seat and back-seat passengers, children and adults — to buckle up every time, on every trip.”
Last Memorial Day, 10 people died in traffic crashes over the holiday period in Michigan. In 2017, 198 people who died in traffic crashes in Michigan were not wearing their seat belts. Buckling up can reduce the risk of serious injury or death in a crash by 45 percent.
“As a surgeon at a Level 1 trauma center, we unfortunately see some of the most devastating injuries after a crash,” said Dr. Charles Gibson at Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital in Grand Rapids. “There is a marked increase in the severity of injury to our patients who were not wearing their seat belts when they have arrived at our facility. Even at a moderate rate of speed, when a vehicle comes to an abrupt stop after a collision, the amount of energy transmitted can be significant and can cause major injuries. For that reason, it is important to wear a seat belt every time you get in a car.”
Michigan law requires drivers, front-seat passengers and passengers ages 15 and younger in any seating position to be buckled up. The fine and associated costs for not wearing a seat belt is $65. Children must be in a car seat or booster seat until they are age 8 or 4 feet, 9 inches tall. Children younger than 4 must be in the back seat.