McMinnville Police Department is partnering with the Tennessee Highway Safety Office for its annual Seatbelts Are For Everyone (SAFE) campaign.
“Our longstanding relationship with the Tennessee Highway Safety Office has proven to be valuable for the department and the citizens,” said McMinnville Police Chief Bryan Denton. “We are glad to partner with this campaign, as we see the benefits of seatbelts usage daily and see, all too often, tragic situations where they would have helped.”
This statewide initiative is for six months. It is designed to increase seatbelt usage and child passenger safety restraint usage through the implementation of occupant-protection programs, public events, and checkpoints throughout local communities across Tennessee. The SAFE campaign began Feb. 1 and concludes Aug. 1.
Including 2017, the Tennessee Highway Safety Office has sponsored the SAFE campaign for four years. Last year yielded the following results:
• 1,717 child restraint violations
• 21,562 seatbelt citations
• 723 other seatbelt enforcement activities
According to Tennessee Highway Safety Office director Vic Donoho, statistics prove the campaign works.
“In 2015, Tennessee’s average seatbelt usage rate was 86.23 percent,” said Donoho. “Last year, we soared to 88.95 percent. Through increased education, enforcement, and community involvement, we’re striving for ninety percent or higher.”
During the effort, participating agencies will pay special attention to nighttime seatbelt enforcement. Tennessee has seen a disproportionate percentage of unrestrained fatalities between the hours of 6 p.m. and 5:59 a.m.
Historically, approximately 50 percent of Tennessee’s traffic fatalities are unbelted. That percentage increases to nearly 60 when nighttime crashes are examined.