Gas prices are sure to top $4.00 per gallon for this year’s official start of summer, but even though you may not be traveling far from home, be sure to make it a safe driving weekend.

Be sure to wear your seat belt

Click it or Ticket

Here at, we were reminded of the safety issue when we received a press release from General Motors that stated, “GM commends the work of the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning (OHSP) and law enforcement agencies throughout the state as they embark on another campaign to increase safety belt use and save lives. As stated by the OHSP, even though Michigan has one of the highest belt use rates in the nation, there were more than 250 unbuckled fatalities last year. And, as OHSP Director Prince states, the goal of this statewide effort is not to write tickets, but to get more motorists to use the life-saving equipment that is readily available to them.”

It always seems to happen this time of year

It could be a graduation party or part of a holiday weekend, but pretty much every year, this time of year, a story appears in the newspapers of a tragic accident involving either families or kids of high school age. Only a year ago, a boy who went to school with my oldest daughter and graduated from high school with her passed away when the car he was driving crossed the center line and hit a large truck head-on. While alcohol was not involved (he fell asleep at the wheel), he wasn’t wearing a seat belt at the time of the collision and the injuries that he sustained could certainly have been reduced had he been wearing one.

The grim statistics

Restraint Use

According to the Michigan State Police, even though the rate of safety belt use in our state is 94%, that represents observable day-time belt use. At night, less than half the fatalities were wearing safety belts and in nearly every case of a belted fatality, the crash was so severe that safety belts and other features were not able to prevent the death. There is one other statistic: nearly ¾ of the fatalities were male.

What to expect this weekend

Here in Michigan, the Memorial Day Weekend will kick off a 2-week statewide safety belt mobilization effort. Federal traffic safety funds will allow nearly 300 local police departments, sheriff’s offices and the Michigan State Police to put additional patrols on the road. A portion of the enforcement will take place during evening and late night hours to encourage drivers to buckle up on a 24/7 basis.

Have a great holiday weekend and keep it safe

While these extra patrols are certain to aggravate many drivers, remember that it’s only for your own good. Any effort that contributes to lower traffic fatalities is a step in the right direction. Keep this in mind as you get together with friends and family this weekend. And from those of us at, have a safe Memorial Day!

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