Michigan’s seat belt use rate has decreased sharply, dropping from 94.4% in 2019 to 92.6% in 2021 — the Wolverine State’s lowest compliance rate since 2004, reports WSJM.com.
The new data comes from a grant-funded direct observation study conducted by Michigan State University.
Noteworthy, the seatbelt survey results come on the heels of recent confirmation that Michigan traffic fatalities escalated to over 1,000 lost lives for the first time in three years.
Specifically, traffic deaths spiked to 1,083 in 2020 as compared with 985 in 2019 — translating into a 10% increase and the highest number of fatalities in the Great Lakes State since 2007, which experienced just one lost life more totaling 1,084.
Despite the fact that a mandatory set belt law went into effect in Michigan in 1985, utilization of the basic safety device varies from year to year. In 2009, Michigan experienced its all-time belt use record reaching a 97.9% compliance rate, according to the WSJM.com report.
Significantly, every 1% increase in seat belt use means an estimated 10 fewer traffic deaths and 100 fewer serious injuries, notes the report. In fact, seat belt use in vehicles saved an estimated 14,955 lives in 2017 alone, according to NHTSA data.
The nationwide seat belt utilization rate was 90.3% in 2020.