Law enforcement officials across Michigan will be enforcing federally funded safety belt enforcement zones through the coming Memorial Day travel weekend.
Safety belt enforcement is to be the topic of a news event scheduled for Monday in Detroit.
Speakers at the event at Henry Ford Hospital are to include Kathy Farnum, section chief of the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning; Henry Ford trauma surgeon Erin Field and Detroit police Deputy Chief James Tolbert.
They're to discuss how Michigan's seat belt usage rate has declined over the past three years after leading the nation in 2008 and 2009.
And a mannequin is to be used to demonstrate injuries often experienced by unbuckled motorists in a crash.
Local police departments, sheriff offices and Michigan State Police posts in 26 counties will conduct federally funded safety belt enforcement zones through the busy Memorial Day travel weekend.
Although Michigan led the nation in seat belt use for two years running, 2008 and 2009, belt use has declined for the last three years.
Last year belt use was at 93.6 percent.
Despite a high belt use rate, nearly half of vehicle occupants killed in traffic crashes are unbuckled.
Law enforcement officers from 155 agencies in 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 counties are participating in the nationwide seat belt mobilization.
Last year, Michigan officers issued 8,125 seat belt citations and 213 child restraint citations during the seat belt enforcement period. Of the ten people who died over the Memorial Day holiday period in 2012, three of the seven vehicle occupants were not wearing a seat belt.
A safety belt enforcement zone is marked with a large portable sign. Law enforcement officers are stationed throughout this area looking for and stopping unbuckled motorists.
Michigan law requires all drivers and passengers 15 and younger in any seating position to be buckled up. Children must be in a car seat or booster seat until they are 8 years old or 4 feet 9 inches tall.