The highways and byways of Michigan are annually littered with the orange plastic barrels and cones indicative of the summer driving season in our great state. In addition to the onslaught of construction the blooming of these barrels indicates, another Michiganian tradition has fallen upon us: Click It or Ticket enforcement zones.
Michigan’s Office of Highway Safety Planning (OHSP) runs an annual campaign to promote seatbelt use via advertisements and enforcement zones in an effort to reduce traffic injuries and deaths.
This year, the campaign to encourage seatbelt use takes a lighthearted tone with “Buckle-phobia,” an imaginary condition some drivers are afflicted with. The cure? Why, the seatbelt of course! It’s guaranteed to prevent the side effects of a $65 fine for not wearing one.
Michigan has traditionally held a strong record of seatbelt usage, increasing from just over 90% in 2004 to nearly 98% in 2009. However, the percentage has declined a bit in the last few years, slipping to nearly 93%. This is a trend the OHSP hopes to see reversed with the new campaign. The OHSP estimates that for every percentage point increase, 10 lives are saved and 130 injuries are prevented. Despite a high percentage of seatbelt use, nearly half of those killed in traffic accidents were not wearing their seatbelts.
The drivers most commonly found to not wear their seatbelts are young men between the ages of 16 and 29. While the ads are meant for everyone, the tone and humor employed is specifically tailored to this group. Additionally, pickup truck drivers also tend to rank low in belt usage, while women are more likely to buckle up than men.
This years campaign runs from May 22 – June 4. It may be brief, but it has proven effective: 90% of drivers recognize and are familiar with the annual campaign and enforcement zones.
55 of the Michigan’s 83 counties will participate in this year’s Click It or Ticket enforcement. Within those counties, approximately 800 enforcement zones will be setup by a record 572 different law enforcement agencies this year.
The enforcement zones and times are posted on agency websites and are highly visible when approaching. If you get busted, there’s no one to blame but yourself. Let’s face it: it’s stupid to not wear your seatbelt. There’s far too much at stake, and who has $65 bucks to just throw away? That’s a whole lotta fun in the summer in Michigan.
Photo credit: JMazzolaa