(FOX 2) - Memorial Day weekend is when many of us hit the road. Last Memorial Day weekend, 19 people died in crashes over the holiday. Experts tell us seatbelts can cut our risk of death in a crash in half.
The good news is most drivers in Michigan are buckling up, but now a new study looks at what happens to young passengers when drivers don't wear a seatbelt.
"Sometimes it's nobody's fault; things happen. Things we can prevent, of course, is distracted driving. In today's day of constant media, phone use, messaging and everything else which we do - appropriate restraint and focused driving is so important," says Dr. Purva Grover from Cleveland Clinic Children's.
The study looks at nationwide data on vehicle crashes involving passengers age 19 and younger over a four year period.
Researchers found when drivers didn't buckle up, child passengers up to age 15 were 16 times more likely to be unbuckled, compared to the children of buckled drivers.
Doctors say when drivers and passengers are not properly restrained, there's a high percentage of head injuries and even death in vehicle crashes. The risk is especially high for children because of their anatomy, which is why there are specific laws in each state for proper restraint.
For very young children, proper car seat installation and buckling correctly is something every parent needs to learn.
"If a child requires a car seat or a belt or a booster, that means they require assistance, which means we still need to be supervising them; we still need to ensure that that's what they're doing," says Dr. Grover.
If you're amont the more than a million in Michigan traveling over Memorial Day weekend, remember we're in the middle of the annual two week Click It or Ticket seat belt enforcement crackdown, which means police will be looking to see if you're buckled up.