(WLNS) – A decision many people make several times a day, could be the difference between life or death; whether or not you wear a seat belt.
As families prepare for travel plans this Memorial Day weekend, law enforcement officers across the state prepare to keep people safe on the roads.
“You can’t control a lot of things in traffic crashes sometimes, but you can control your seat belt,” Michigan State Police Lt. Lisa Rish said.
Back in 2009, Michigan led the nation with 98% of people wearing their seatbelts. It dropped to 94.5% last year, which dropped the state to 12th.
The Click it or Ticket campaign kicks off this time every year to make sure everyone knows the consequences of not wearing a seat belt.
“It’s generally about 65 dollars in fines,” Lt. Rish said.
Lt. Rish says the cost of not wearing a seat belt can be much more than a ticket.
“We’re talking about more than 2,000 lives, that’s huge just for the simple fact of clicking on that seat belt.”
She says nearly 3,000 people not wearing a seat belt were killed in accidents last year.
The best way to buckle up is to make sure the belt is low on your stomach, then pull the strap so that it’s on the center of your shoulder, then pull tight so that you are snug in your seat.
“You’re buckling into a system that includes your airbags, the crumple zones, all the rest of the parts of your vehicle that keep you safe in a crash,” University of Michigan Transportation and Research Professor Matt Reed said.
Reed says, taking advantage of the safety features your car offers, is ultimately in your hands.
“They only work if you wear them.”
This year the campaign is expanding to include a competition between Michigan, Indiana and Ohio.
It’s called “Get Your Click On” and whichever state has the highest rate for seat belt use, wins.
Michigan used to hold the number one spot in the nation for that, but in recent years has fallen out of the top ten.