It appears the vast majority of Michigan drivers wear their seat belts before hitting the road.
For the second year in a row, 93 percent of Michigan drivers and front seat passengers are buckling up. According to observation surveys conducted this summer by the Wayne State University Transportation Research Group, there was an overall marginal decrease of .6 percent from 2012 in the statewide seat belt use rate. Other things remained consistent, as males, younger occupants and those in pickup trucks continue to exhibit lower belt use rates.
“Seat belt enforcement remains a priority in our state because seat belts save lives,” said Michael L. Prince, director of the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning. “The state’s traffic safety community will continue to stress the importance of buckling up, day and night, and ensure children are in the correct car seat, booster or seat belt for their size.”
Among the findings, sport utility vehicle occupants had the highest belt use at 94.3 percent and pickup truck occupants the lowest at 90 percent. Women buckled up 94.8 percent of the time compared to 92.1 percent for men. Seat belt use was highest for those 60 and older at 95.7 percent and lowest for those 0 to 15 at 91.2 percent.
Last year, the most recent year for national seat belt use data, only four states had a seat belt use rate higher than Michigan:
- Washington: 96.9 percent.
- Oregon: 96.8 percent.
- California: 95.5 percent.
- Texas: 94 percent.
The state’s highest rate was 97.9 percent in 2009, at that time making it No. 1 in the country. While the state’s seat belt use rate has declined since 2009, it is far higher than the 2012 national belt use rate of 86 percent.
This project is part of Michigan’s Strategic Highway Safety Plan signed by Gov. Rick Snyder in February.