POSTED: February 20, 2019
The Oak Ridge Police Department is partnering with the Tennessee Highway Safety Office (THSO) for its annual Seatbelts Are For Everyone (SAFE) 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 local communities across Tennessee. The SAFE campaign began earlier this month and will conclude August 1, 2019.
“Proper seatbelt use isn’t just about obeying the law, it’s about saving lives,” explained ORPD Officer Matthew Johnston. “Buckling up is one of the easiest things you can do to protect yourself in the event of a crash.”
2019 will be the sixth year the THSO has sponsored the SAFE campaign. Last year yielded the following results:
“In 2017, Tennessee’s average seatbelt usage rate was 88.51 percent,” said THSO Director Vic Donoho. “Last year, the usage rate was 88.77 percent. Through increased education, enforcement, and community involvement, we’re striving to achieve 100 percent.”
This year, participating agencies will pay special attention to nighttime seatbelt enforcement. Tennessee has seen a disproportionate percentage of unrestrained fatalities between the hours of 6:00 p.m. and 5:59 a.m. Historically, approximately fifty percent of Tennessee’s traffic fatalities are unbelted. That percentage increases to nearly sixty when nighttime crashes are examined.