Is it part of your driving routine? You get in the car, adjust your seat, check your mirrors, put on your seatbelt and turn on the engine. If you are skipping the seatbelt part, you're not alone. More Michiganders are buckling up less than in previous years.

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According to the Office of Highway Safety Planning, seat belt use rate in the state has dropped from 94.4 percent in 2019 to 92.6 percent in 2021. That is reportedly the lowest compliance rate since 2004. Seat belt use among Michiganders is the lowest in 17 years.

The information was found during a Michigan State University study which also discovered that traffic deaths peaked above 1,000 in 2020 for the first time in three years.

Michael L. Prince, director of the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning told Fox 17 through a press release,

"The seat belt use numbers are moving in the wrong direction, and it’s important to turn things around as quickly as possible. Seat belts are the cornerstone of any effective traffic safety strategy. We must continually remind drivers and passengers of all ages to buckle up, every trip, every time."

The Office of Highway Safety Planning added,

"Every 1 percent increase in seat belt use means an estimated 10 fewer traffic deaths and 100 fewer serious injuries."

A statewide campaign running through July 24th is encouraging people to use their seatbelts.

Photo by Sam Rudkin-Millichamp on Unspla
Photo by Sam Rudkin-Millichamp on Unsplash

Michigan State Police currently use an educational tool called the Seat Belt Convincer. Seat belt convincers can be a key part of safety presentations at high schools, fairs, drivers’ education programs, or community events. The convincer is capable of simulating 5 to 7 mph crashes which allows the rider to experience the surprising amount of force generated by such a low speed collision and the benefit that a seat belt can provide.

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