Seatbelt usage slipping in the state of Michigan

A bit of unfortunate news was released recently by the Michigan State Police.

Michigan’s seat belt use rate fell slightly in 2023, according to results from a grant-funded direct observation study conducted by Michigan State University.

In 2023, Michigan’s seat belt use rate was 92.4, a decrease of 0.5 percent from the 92.9 percent recorded in 2022. Results from the 2023 study, which was conducted between May and July, mark the lowest seat belt use rate since 2004, when it was 90.5 percent.

Other relevant seat belt usage data for Michigan:

≤ The state’s highest seat belt use rate was 97.9 percent in 2009.

≤ The counties with the lowest belt use rates were generally rural counties in northern Michigan.

Here’s how the raw numbers are interpreted. Every 1 percent increase in seat belt use means an estimated 10 fewer traffic deaths and 100 fewer serious injuries. In Michigan in 2022, there were 1,123 fatalities.

“Seat belts are the foundation of every effective traffic safety strategy and one of the easiest things drivers and passengers can do to be safe,” Katie Bower, director of the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning, said in an MSP press release. “Michigan was once a leading state in seat belt use. It should give all Michiganders pause to see that our state’s seat belt use rate continues to decrease — an alarming 2 percentage points since 2019. Drivers and passengers of all ages must buckle up, every trip, every time.”

We couldn’t agree more. It’s a proven fact that buckling up saves lives, maybe yours or a loved one.

Just do it. Not only is it the law, it’s the smart thing to do.


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