LANSING (WWJ/AP) – Law enforcement officers are hoping their annual campaign to ticket seat belt scofflaws will push up Michigan’s compliance rate.

State police say seat belt use in Michigan dropped to 94.5 percent last year, down from a high of 97.9 percent in 2009.

Anne Readett, of the State Office of Highway Safety Planning, said 200 people who weren’t wearing their seat belts were killed in Michigan last year.

“About half the people who died in vehicle crashes last year were unbuckled, so … we still have a long ways to go and we know we have a significant number of people who would be alive today if they’d buckled up,” she said.

Seat belt use is lowest among pickup truck drivers and their front seat passengers at 89 percent.

Law enforcement officers from 160 agencies in 26 counties across the state will have additional officers conducting safety belt enforcement zones as well as evening traffic patrols through the Memorial Day weekend and onto June 3.

Last year, nine people died over the Memorial Day holiday period, including three not wearing a seat belt. Last year’s statewide seat belt enforcement campaign that included the Memorial Day holiday resulted in more than 9,000 tickets.  The total was about 500 less than in a similar period in 2010. The effort also caught about 100 suspected drunken drivers and led to 48 drug arrests.

Get enforcement zone details and more information here.

TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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