The Governor’s Highway Safety Office (GHSO) and the Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP) announced an increase in seat belt usage with an observed usage rate of 87.7 percent statewide for the month of June. That’s an increase from the previous usage rate of 84.6 percent.
The seat belt survey is performed by the University of Tennessee (Knoxville) Center for Transportation Research. The survey, which is conducted in accordance with federal requirements and standards, is state mandated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
“We are extremely pleased to see this solid increase in seat belt usage in Tennessee. As fatalities have decreased, this is further proof that seat belts save lives, and that’s what we are in the business to do,” GHSO Director Poole said. “This all-time high in usage also means that our ‘Click It or Ticket’ campaign, combining education with the enforcement efforts of the Tennessee Highway Patrol and every single local law enforcement partner across the state, has been a productive partnership,” he added.
State Troopers have issued 4,666 seat belt citations during this year’s Click it or Ticket campaign, which ran from May 19 through June 1. Since January 1, 2014, THP personnel have ticketed 58,842 individuals for violation of the seat belt law.
“Since the beginning of 2012, our agency has implemented an aggressive seat belt enforcement program,” Colonel Tracy Trott said. “We’ve seen a 236 percent increase in the number of seat belt citations state troopers have issued since then. I’m thankful to the troopers who have worked so hard in this area, along with our partners at GHSO, the Tennessee Association of Chiefs of Police and the Tennessee Sheriffs’ Association who have helped us achieve this level of safety for our citizens,” he added.
Colonel Trott also noted that Tennessee’s percentage of unrestrained fatalities is at a five-year low. Both the THP and the GHSO are committed to proactive enforcement and education to lower the fatality figure and continue to increase the seat belt usage rate.
“We still have room for improvement in all areas and demographics and will continue our efforts to reach even higher goals and save even more lives in Tennessee,” Director Poole said.
As of July 14, preliminary statistics indicate 476 people have died on Tennessee roadways, a decrease of 29 deaths compared to 505 fatalities at this same time in 2013. To date, 49.7 percent of the state’s fatalities have been unrestrained motorists.