Buckle up or get a ticket, seat belt enforcement underway - WNEM TV 5

Buckle up or get a ticket, seat belt enforcement underway

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Law enforcement are working to save lives with the 2017 National Seat Belt Enforcement Mobilization.

Running from May 22 through June 4, departments across the state are stepping up seat belt enforcement.

In targeted zones, law enforcement officers will be on the lookout for unbuckled drivers and riders. If someone is seen without their seat belt on, a spotter calls ahead to other officers in the zone who can issue a $65 ticket.

The enforcement kicks off just before the Memorial Day holiday weekend, where crashes took the lives of six people in 2016.

Michigan law requires drivers, front seat passengers, and passengers 15 and younger to buckle up.

Children must be in a car seat or booster until they are 8-years-old or 4’9”.

Children under 4-years-old must also be in the back seat.

Michigan also is challenging neighboring Ohio and Indiana to see which state can improve the most in its seat belt usage rate this year.

Michigan ranked No. 1 nationally at 98 percent in 2009. But its use rate was 94.5 percent last year, which dropped the state to 12th

Peggie Hall survived a car accident on the interstate thanks in large part to her seat belt.

"Had it not been for the seat belt, the impact probably would've thrown me through the windshield," Hall said.

Hall is not alone.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, seat belts saved an estimated 13,941 lives in 2015. That same year, nearly half of all people killed in vehicle accidents were unrestrained. The national seat belt rate is 90 percent, however 27.5 million Americans still don't buckle up.

"They don't fit. They don't feel comfortable with them. They cut into my neck. There's a whole battery of reasons. I forgot," said Kevin Gloude, detective for the Saginaw Township Police Department.

He said 25 people were stopped in just more than three hours at one intersection for not wearing seat belts. He believes in the Click it or Ticket campaign.

"It's going to be more harmful not to have that seat belt on," Gloude said.

As for Hall, she said buckling up is a decision everyone can live with.

"I've always worn my seat belt," she said.

For more on the campaign, click here.

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