© 2023 Michigan State University Board of Trustees
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Seat Belt Usage Down In Michigan

Backseat Excuses buckle up campaign image
Office of Highway Safety Planning
The Office of Highway Safety Planning is promoting buckling up in back seats with a campaign called 'Backseat Escuses.'

New statistics show seat belt usage in Michigan is declining.

The best year on record for seat belt usage was 2009 when almost 98% of residents buckled up.

In 2019, the rate had fallen to 94.4%. A Michigan State University study this year puts the usage rate at 92.6%.

Officials say every one percent increase in seat belt usage saves ten lives in the state.

Office of Highway Safety Planning spokesperson Kendall Wingrove said traffic deaths are trending upward.

"The fatalities already went up in 2020," Wingrove stated. "The preliminary statistics are they're going to go even higher in 2021."

Wingrove speculated the pandemic has been a factor in reduced seat belt usage.

"We think a lot of people forgot their good driving habits, and it's not just seat belt use; it's excessive speeding. There's a really big education effort that needs to take place to get people back to where they were."

The state is launching an information campaign this week to raise awareness, including an advertising push to promote the usage of seat belts by back seat passengers.


The seat belt survey results come just a few weeks after the Michigan State Police Criminal Justice Information Center confirmed traffic deaths in the state peaked above 1,000 for the first time in three years.

Scott Pohl is a general assignment news reporter and produces news features and interviews. He is also an alternate local host on NPR's "Morning Edition."
Related Content
Support local journalism by becoming a new WKAR donor and get ad-free feeds of your favorite NPR podcasts with NPR+ when you donate $8/month or more! Make your contribution today to fund more vetted news reports throughout mid-Michigan!