IRON MOUNTAIN, Mich., (WJMN) – After conducting a survey to gauge seatbelt use in their jurisdiction, the Iron Mountain MSP have decided to launch an initiative to encourage more seatbelt wearing.
According to Trooper Geno Basanese, their survey revealed that people in Iron and Dickinson counties wear their seatbelt at rates lower than the State average.
“The average in Michigan is usually in the like 93, 94 percentage right like somewhere in there,” said Basanese. “So when we did ours, in Dickinson County we were, like you know, middle 80 percent and in Iron County we were lower 80 percent.”
In the next few weeks, they will be enforcing seat belt wearing in zones around both Dickinson and Iron Counties. Basanese says they are trying to reduce fatalities and injuries.
“It’s a civil infraction right and we can talk about that but when you think about it for a minute, you know, what if there is a traffic crash,” said Basanese. “You know, what can happen is that somebody can either get hurt or killed and that’s what we’re really trying to avoid.”
Basanese says that in his experience, wearing a seatbelt makes a difference in a traffic accident.
“I’ve got 22 years in with the State Police and in all of the traffic crashes that I’ve been on the seat belt has definitely made a difference,” said Basanese. “You know, that’s not going to be in every case we know that but in the vast majority right, the ones at least that I’ve seen it has definitely made a difference.”
Everyone should be wearing a seatbelt when in a vehicle, but the law states that if people over 16 aren’t required to wear one in the backseat. Children should never sit in the front seat, but Basanese says if there is no back seat, there are some precautions to take.
“If there’s a child especially in a rear-facing, then you need to make sure that one you don’t want them in the front seat at all but if they have to be in the front seat or there is no back seat you just want to make sure that you can turn the airbag off,” said Basanese.
Basanese compares wearing a seatbelt to wearing safety equipment for other activities. He says that wearing a seatbelt can protect you from accidents that are unexpected. The fine for not wearing a seatbelt is $65. However, the cost of a life that can be saved is priceless.
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