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State Says Tickets Up During 4-Day Seat Belt Blitz

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LANSING (WWJ/AP) - Authorities say 8,701 tickets were written during a recent four-day crackdown on seat belt use, a six percent increase over a similar effort a year ago.

Police and sheriff’s departments in 26 counties participated in the crackdown from May 30 to June 2. The tickets were written for seat belt or child seat violations.

Preliminary reports from police agencies indicate 13,453 vehicles were stopped during campaign, which is part of a national effort to save lives and reduce injuries by increasing seat belt use.

In addition to seat belt violations, 15 drunk drivers were arrested during the enforcement period and 29 drug arrests were made. More than 1,000 tickets for uninsured motorists and 415 for suspended licenses were also written.

Michael Prince, director of The Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning, said motorists really had no excuse, since they were warned about the enhanced enforcement through advertising ahead of time.

“Those that didn’t heed the advice to ‘click it’ received a ticket,” he said in a statement. “The bottom line is seat belts save lives and motorists need to buckle up every trip, every time.”

In Eaton County, a seat belt stop resulted in the discovery of methamphetamine in the vehicle and the seizure of more than $30,000 in other drugs. Traffic stops in Taylor and Rockwood in Wayne County also resulted in narcotics arrests and the forfeiture of more than $3,000.

Twelve people died in traffic crashes over the Memorial Day holiday period. Of those, three were not wearing a seat belt, two were motorcyclists, two were riding off-road vehicles along the roadway, one was riding a moped and one was a pedestrian. This is an increase from the 2012 Memorial Day holiday period when 10 people were killed in traffic crashes.

Counties participating in the enforcement effort included: Allegan, Berrien, Calhoun, Chippewa, Delta, Eaton, Genesee, Grand Traverse, Houghton, Ingham, Jackson, Kalamazoo, Kent, Livingston, Macomb, Marquette, Monroe, Muskegon, Oakland, Ogemaw, Ottawa, Saginaw, St. Clair, Van Buren, Washtenaw and Wayne.

Officers will again take to the streets working stepped up drunk driving patrols July 1-7 and Aug. 16-Sept. 2, during the heavily traveled July Fourth and Labor Day holidays. Seat belt enforcement will also be a part of the Labor Day effort.

TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 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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