Each year, Michigan State Police also host a period of extended enforcement for seatbelt-related infractions. In 2020, the Click It or Ticket campaign runs from October 17 through 31.
Understanding Michigan Seatbelt Laws
Under Michigan’s Seat Belt Law, all passengers ages 8 to 15 must buckle up whenever they are seated in a motor vehicle, along with all drivers and front seat passengers. Children younger than 3 must also ride in a car seat in the rear of the vehicle (with certain exceptions). Further, all children must ride in a car seat or booster seat until they are 8 years old or 4-feet-9-inches tall.
Why Wear a Seatbelt
In addition to helping you avoid a $65 fine, wearing a seatbelt could save your life. According to the Michigan State Police, seatbelt use reduces the risk of fatal injury to front-seat passenger car occupants by 45%. Data from the National Highway Traffic Administration (NHTSA) shows seatbelts have saved 344,448 lives since 1975. In 2017 alone, seatbelts saved nearly 15,000 lives. Although the latest NHTSA statistics place the rate of seatbelt use at above 90%, an estimated 2,549 additional people could have been saved in 2017 if they had simply worn a seatbelt.
Seatbelts keep you from being totally ejected from your vehicle and enhance the efficiency of other safety features, like airbags, but only if you use them correctly.
How to Wear a Seatbelt Properly
Wearing your seatbelt correctly is the single most effective thing you can do to protect yourself in a crash and defend yourself from impaired, aggressive, and distracted drivers.
Secure your lap belt across your pelvis and your shoulder belt across the rib cage. These are some of the strongest parts of your body, and they are better able to withstand a crash. Your shoulder belt should fall across the middle of your chest and away from your neck, and your lap belt should fit across your hips – not your stomach.
If your seatbelt isn’t comfortable, consider using seatbelt adjusters. Seatbelt extenders can also give you more room. NEVER put the shoulder belt behind your back or under your arm. For added safety, consider retrofitting older cars with lap/shoulder belts, as opposed to relying on lap belts only.
The NHTSA has an entire manual on “Proper Seat Belt Use” (opens a PDF), and advice for how to buckle up if you are pregnant.
Wear your seatbelt every time you get in a car – and adjust it so it serves you best.
What If I Am Injured Without a Seatbelt?
At Goodman Acker P.C., we recommend you wear a seatbelt 100% of the time. That being said, we also understand that you are human, and sometimes, you forget. If you are injured in an accident without your seatbelt, you may be facing an insurance headache.
Insurance companies often claim that your injuries would not have happened if you were wearing a seatbelt, but they only use this tactic when the accident would not have happened if the drivers they insured drove carefully.
When you are harmed by another’s negligence, your seatbelt use (or lack thereof) should not jeopardize your access to justice and compensation.
Our attorneys help ensure this doesn’t happen.
If you need help with seatbelt issues, please call us at (248) 286-8100 or contact us online for your free consultation.
In the meantime, stay safe and remember to buckle up!