Traveling by vehicle in Michigan continues to reportedly get safer, as evidenced by a new record-high safety belt use rate and a decrease in the number of traffic fatalities over the July 4th holiday weekend.
The Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning (OHSP) reports that safety belt use in Michigan has climbed to nearly 87 percent according to information compiled and analyzed by the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI). The new 86.8 percent safety belt use rate is an all-time high for the state, besting last year’s 84.8 percent record set following the 2003 Labor Day holiday.
OHSP estimates the state will prevent 10 traffic deaths for every 1 percent increase in safety belt use over the course of a year.
Additionally, preliminary reports show that there were seven traffic crashes, which resulted in 10 deaths over the July 4th holiday weekend. Last year, during the holiday weekend, which ran from Thursday at 6 p.m. until Sunday at 7 p.m., there were 17 crashes and 17 traffic-related deaths.
“When Michigan residents wear seat belts they are ensuring their own health and safety,” said Governor Jennifer M. Granholm. “We hope this encouraging news continues through the summer as more residents take to the roads for their family getaways.”
“We hope that this increase in safety belt use is only the beginning as we pursue the goal of 90 percent use in Michigan,” said Colonel Tadarial Sturdivant, director of the Michigan State Police. “If we’re successful in reaching the 90 percent goal, a death will be prevented nearly every week.”
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