APRIL 21-- The Hardin County Sheriff’s Department announced it is partnering with the Tennessee Highway Safety Office for its annual Seatbelts Are For Everyone campaign.
This statewide initiative is designed to increase seatbelt usage and child passenger safety restraint usage through the implementation of occupant-protection programs, public events and checkpoints throughout communities across Tennessee.
The SAFE campaign began Feb. 1 and concludes on Aug. 1.
According to the Tennessee Highway Safety Office, last year’s campaign resulted in 1,717 child restraint violations, 21,562 seatbelt citations, and 723 other seatbelt enforcement activities.
“In 2015, Tennessee’s average seatbelt usage rate was 86.23 percent,” said Safety Office Director Vic Donoho. “Last year we soared to 88.95 percent. Through increased education, enforcement, and community involvement, we’re striving for 90 percent or higher.”
The sheriff’s department said that this year, officers will pay special attention to nighttime seatbelt enforcement.
Tennessee has reportedly seen a disproportionate percentage of unrestrained fatalities between 6 p.m. and 5:59 a.m. Historically, about half of the state’s traffic fatalities are unbelted. The percentage increases to nearly 60 percent when nighttime crashes are examined.