‘Click It or Ticket’ campaign to amp up seat belt use enforcement

Click it or ticket – that’s the reminder from the Tennessee Highway Safety Office as more drivers are expected to hit the roads for the summer.

The Seatbelt Defender is a teaching tool that puts drivers in the front seat of seat belt safety during a crash.

“Simulates a crash between eight to 12 miles per hour,” said Sgt. Michael Rodgers of the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office.

The risk is highlighted as part of the Click It or Ticket campaign, a partnership between the Tennessee Highway Safety Office and law enforcement agencies statewide to increase seat belt enforcement.

“We are considered a high-use state, but we think there’s room for improvement and we want to do better,” said Chris Gilmore of the Tennessee Highway Safety Office.

According to Tennessee’s Integrated Traffic Analysis Network (TITAN), 299 people not wearing a seat belt were killed in crashes in the state.

“That’s 299 lives we could’ve possibly changed the outcome,” said Gilmore.

Gilmore said there are some common themes.

“A lot of the places where the numbers are higher – those places are around the interstate. It’s like they get on a long trip on the interstate and the seat belt – they think is uncomfortable or they’ll take it off,” said Gilmore.

Sgt. Rodgers said he’s seen similarities also among types of drivers.

“People who drive pick-up trucks for some reason don’t like to wear their seat belts,” he said.

In Rutherford County, there have already been four traffic fatalities in 2019, all of whom weren’t wearing a seatbelt.

“The numbers don’t lie,” said Sgt. Rodgers. “Obviously if you wear your seat belt, you are much more likely to survive a critical crash.”

“Make sure you buckle up every trip every time – you never know when you’ll be involved in a crash,” said Gilmore.

Tennessee law requires the driver, front passenger, and those under 18 years old to wear a seat belt.

The campaign ends June 2.

Fines range from $25 to $75 and goes up for each additional offense.

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