LANSING - With Memorial Day weekend speeding upon us, the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT), police departments and the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning (OHSP) are encouraging drivers to buckle up and slow down.
As many COVID-19 restrictions are being lifted, the amount of travelers during the holiday is estimated to increase 57% compared to last year, according to AAA Michigan. They estimate that more than 1.1 million Michigan residents will pack their bags and travel 50 miles or more during the holiday.
With all of this traffic, MDOT is ceasing construction on 62% of projects statewide to help ease the flow of traffic during the holiday weekend. The stoppage will begin at 3:00 pm Friday, May 28 until 6:00 am Tuesday, June 1, according to MDOT.
“With more people getting vaccinated from COVID-19 and restrictions being lifted, we expect more people to get out and travel this Memorial Day holiday weekend,” said State Transportation Director Paul C. Ajegba. “MDOT never stopped working during the pandemic and this year we have more work happening than ever thanks to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s Rebuilding Michigan program. We implore drivers to slow down, stay alert and avoid distractions in work zones.”
This stoppage does not mean that all barriers will be removed and temporary shifts or shoulder closures could still remain.
In order to remind people to wear their seat belts and drive safe, OHSP is running the Click It or Ticket campaign, which started May 17 and will end on June 6. According to OHSP, the 2019 Memorial Day weekend resulted in 11 crashes with 13 fatalities. Out of those crashes, 2 of the deaths were a result of not wearing seat belts.
“So often, critical injuries and the loss of life on our roadways could have been prevented with the simple click of a seat belt,” said Michael L. Prince, OHSP director. “Wearing a seat belt is the easiest and most effective thing you can do to reduce injuries and save lives. Buckle up every trip, every time.”
All across Michigan, police departments and sheriff’s offices will be enforcing the wearing of seat belts during the three-week period. According to Michigan law, all passengers 15 and younger must be buckled no matter where they are sitting in the car. Front-seat passengers and drivers must also be buckled, no matter the age. The fine for not wearing a seat belt is $65.
With a weekend full of festivities and honoring those who have fought for their country, drivers are encouraged to buckle up and drive safe in order for a safe and festive holiday.