Time to buckle up: MOHSP announces annual Click it or Ticket campaign

Graham Jaehnig/Daily Mining Gazette Police vehicles have evolved over the years, and technologies used by law enforcement agencies have advanced, but one thing has remained the same: the dedication of enforcement agencies, and their officers, to ensure the safety of all citizens.

Three out of four people ejected from a vehicle in a crash will die. That statistic was was stated by the director of the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning (OHSP), Michael L. Prince, which is quoted from a release from that office Thursday.

To stress the importance of buckling up, the release states, the OHSP recently launched a new safety campaign that includes television and radio ads, billboards, social media posts, and banners displayed at more than 600 police and public safety offices across Michigan, as part of the annual Click it or Ticket seat belt enforcement crackdown that runs from May 20-June 2.

While the seat belt usage rate in Michigan stands at 93.4 percent, last Memorial Day, 19 people died in traffic crashes of the holiday period, nearly double the number in 2017. Buckling up can reduce the risk of serious injury or death in a crash by 45 percent, making seat belts the single most effective way to survive a crash, the release stated.

Local law enforcement agencies also support the campaign, reminding motorists to play it safe for their safety, and the safety of their passengers.

“Keweenaw County Sheriff’s Office encourages all motorists to stay safe over the Memorial Day Weekend,” said Sheriff Bill Loukkanen. He added if people are going to drink, be sure to have a designated driver.

“What OHSP is sending is, they do grants,” Luokkanen said, “and we’re not participating in that this year, but we will have patrols out this Memorial Day Weekend, trying to keep the roads safe.”

The Michigan State Police will be enforcing Michigan’s seat belt law, said Sergeant Jeremy Cleary of the Calumet Post, with extra patrols throughout the two-week period.

“We can’t say how many, we don’t know,” Cleary said. “You show up, and they’re alive, so you can assume it was the seat belt that played a major role, especially with the elderly, and young children.”

Michigan law requires drivers, front seat passenger, and passengers 15 years and younger in any seating position to be buckled up. The fine and associated costs associated for not wearing a seat belt is $65, the release stated. Children must be in a car seat or booster seat until they are eight years old or Four feet, nine inches tall, and children four years old and younger must be in the back seat.