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It may be hard to believe now, but in the early 1980s only about 20% of motor vehicle drivers and passengers in Michigan wore their seat belts.  That changed 30 years ago when Michigan became the third state in the country (after New York and New Jersey) to enact a law requiring seat belt use.  Although the law faced heavy opposition at first, today well over 90% of Michigan motorists habitually buckle up before taking to the roadway.

Seat Belts Save Lives

With all the safety technology available in cars these days, one of the biggest lifesavers is the relatively low-tech seat belt.  While seat belts have evolved with the times to become safer and more comfortable, the basic concept of a harness-like restraint remains the same.  According to some reports, seat belts can reduce the likelihood of serious injury or death by at least 50%.  Additionally, many of your vehicle’s other safety features, such as air bags, work better when you’re buckled in.

Enforcement Matters

Michigan is a primary enforcement state, meaning law enforcement officers can pull drivers over for not wearing their seat belts.  Primary enforcement states have a much higher rate of seat belt use than secondary enforcement states, where officers can only write tickets for seat belt infractions if the driver has been pulled over for another reason.  Public safety promotions such as “Click It or Ticket” and targeted crackdowns (usually around the holidays) also lead to increased seat belt use.

Remember, any time you get in a vehicle for a trip of any length, buckle your seat belt.

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