A recent national study states that 50% of police officers do not buckle their seat belts when driving a car. This compares with 86% of the nation generally. This study comes on the heels of the Los Angeles Police Department’s 2012 statistics which showed that 37% of police officers involved in accidents were not wearing their seat belts at the time. Additionally, national failure of officers to wear a seat belt is the leading cause of officer mortality, above even shooting deaths.
While new officers to the force often use their seat belts at the same rates as others. However, some may emulate senior officers and avoid using them. Additionally, many older police cars do not have functioning seat belts, or the belts have been tied back or cut out. This is because of a perception on the force that police officers are susceptible to a sudden brutal attack from behind. In such a scenario, which is very rare, a seat belt may be an impediment to an officer who needs to access weapons quickly. In reality, while this situation may occur occasionally, it is far more common for an officer to be injured or die as a result of a failure to wear a seat belt.
Michigan Seat Belt Safety Law & the Police: While many states have exempted police officers from their seatbelt safety laws, Michigan’s law does not appear to exempt police officers specifically. It is unclear if there is no exemption because Michigan police officers regularly use their seat belts, or for one of the above discussed reasons. This means Michigan’s statistics could vary significantly from the national average However, there is still a decent likelihood that if you are pulled over for a seat belt violation the cop who pulled you over was not buckled up either.
To retain Garmo & Kiste, PLC, for assistance in these matters call us at (248) 398-7100 for a free consultation or contact us with a private message. We are experienced Michigan attorneys with offices in Troy, MI.