Seatbelts are the primary safety device in vehicles. Ninety-four-and-a-half percent of drivers buckled up in 2011. Michigan has one of the highest seatbelt use rates nationwide.
â??We wear seatbelts just in case we may ever get into a car accident,â?? says driver Sara Rasmussen. â??We just want to make sure everyone's safe and nothing bad happens to anyone."
Police say that speeding is usually the biggest cause of accidents. But many accidents and injuries can be prevented by simply wearing a seatbelt.
A â??Safety Belt Enforcement Zoneâ?? sign will be displayed on major highways and other roads where there's a high accident risk. There'll be a patrol car sitting close to the sign. A police spotter will radio other patrol cars who will make the traffic stop when they spot a motorist without a seatbelt.
You'd think it's obvious, but not to everyone.
â??One year, the first one through at 10 in the morning was a drunk driver driving and not wearing his seatbelt," says Delta County Undersheriff Ed Oswald.
For other drivers, the reminder is effective.
â??We have been making an impact with people. The numbers are getting higher with people wearing safety belts, and when you see the numbers increase with people wearing safety belts, you see the injury rate decrease,â?? Oswald says.
This program is possible thanks to federal funding. He says $17,500 is spent a year for the Delta County Sheriff's Department, Escanaba, and Gladstone Public Safety Department to increase patrols on holiday weekends.