Traffic: Safety belt enforcement zones to start next week

Buckle up to avoid delays

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DETROIT - The annual Click It or Ticket enforcement mobilization will begin next week, as safety belt enforcement zones will start up. The goal of the zones 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," said Michael L. Prince, Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning (OHSP) director. "To ensure smooth travel, simply buckle up."

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.

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

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.

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