Seat Belt Use and Traffic Fatality Statistics

Wayne State University has provided updated seat-belt use rates for 2012.   Based on the September statewide use survey, seat-belt use is down slightly from 94.5 percent in 2011 to 93.6 percent in 2012.

Variables that might be influencing the decline include::  

  • Traffic enforcement statewide is down for all types of violations (dropping at a rate of 10 percent per year);
  • Number of on-road officers, deputies, and troopers is down dramatically and the amount of discretionary patrol time is down as well;
  • Many agencies have gone to modified shifts to address coverage issues (i.e. 12 hour shifts);
  • There is a greater focus on crime at the expense of traffic enforcement;
  • Some agencies are experiencing well-publicized budget and labor issues due to budget cuts, salary reductions, increases to employee contributions to cover health care and retirement, etc.

Also, we have new year-to-date summaries of Great Lakes Region traffic fatalities.  While Michigan's traffic fatalities increased from 2011 to 2012, the increase was relatively smaller than seen in Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin.