TIPTON COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE CELEBRATES THIRTY YEARS OF SEAT BELT ENFORCEMENT DURING NATIONAL “CLICK IT OR TICKET” MOBILIZATION
Covington, Tennessee – The Tipton County Sheriff’s Office is partnering with the Tennessee Highway Safety Office to increase seatbelt enforcement from May 23 to June 5, surrounding of one of the busiest travel weekends of the year.
“If you ask the family members of those unrestrained people who were killed in crashes, they’ll tell you—they wish their loved ones had buckled up,” said Sheriff J.T. “Pancho” Chumley “The bottom line is that seat belts save lives. If these enforcement crackdowns get people’s attention and get them to buckle up, then we’ve done our job. There is no good excuse for not wearing a seatbelt.”
This year, Tennessee celebrates its 30 year anniversary of seatbelt legislation. The state first enacted a mandatory seat belt law in 1986. The law was updated in 2004 to make seatbelt violations a primary offense. In 2015, the law was again updated to more than double the fine for seat belt citations.
Tennessee’s current seat belt use rate is 86.2 percent. This classifies Tennessee as a “low use” state on a national level. According to the Department of Safety and Homeland Security, 343 individuals killed in traffic crashes last year were not wearing a seatbelt. This group makes up over forty-eight percent of all those killed in passenger vehicles.
“We are putting an emphasis on nighttime seatbelt enforcement,” said Tennessee Highway Safety Office Interim Director Jason Ivey. “The problem of unbelted vehicle occupants becomes worse at night. Nationally, 59 percent of vehicle occupants who were killed in traffic crashes overnight in 2013 were not wearing their seat belts at the time of the crash, compared to 43 percent during daytime hours. We are observing a similar trend at the statewide level. Looking at the last five years of data, there are significant differences in restraint use at night versus during the day.”
This article originally appeared as a press release from Tipton County Sheriff's Office.