LANSING, Mich. (WOOD) - The Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning (OHSP) has launched its latest seat belt enforcement campaign, leading up to the Memorial Day weekend.
Michigan's Click It or Ticket campaign ads feature a make-believe condition called Buckle-phobia. While Buckle-phobia is imaginary, safety belt enforcement zones are real and will be seen across the state starting Monday as the annual two-week traffic enforcement campaign moves into full swing.
"Seat belts are a genuine lifesaver," said Michael L. Prince, director of OHSP, which coordinates the annual seat belt mobilization. "The approach may be a bit tongue-in-cheek, but our message is serious."
Local police departments, sheriff's offices and Michigan State Police posts in 26 counties will conduct federally funded safety belt enforcement zones through the busy Memorial Day travel weekend.
Although Michigan led the nation in seat belt use for two years running, 2008 and 2009, belt use has declined for the last three years, according to a news release. Last year, belt use was at 93.6 percent.
Despite a high belt use rate, nearly half of vehicle occupants killed in traffic crashes are unbuckled.
Last year, Michigan officers issued 8,125 seat belt citations and 213 child restraint citations during the seat belt enforcement period. Of the 10 people who died during the Memorial Day holiday period in 2012, three of the seven vehicle occupants were not wearing a seat belt.
A safety belt enforcement zone is marked with a large portable sign. Law enforcement officers are stationed throughout this area looking for and stopping unbuckled motorists.
Michigan law requires all drivers and passengers 15 and younger in any seating position to be buckled up. Children must be in a car seat or booster seat until they are 8 years old or 4 feet 9 inches tall.
The Buckle-phobia Click It or Ticket ads can be viewed at Youtube.com/ohsp.
Fred Glespie was found not guilty in the death of three children who died in an apartment fire.
Police are looking for the suspect in an armed robbery that occurred at a gas station in Plainwell Thursday night.
The rink will be open that day from 3-9 p.m.