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Sheriff, state partner in effort aimed at seatbelts

Posted on Thursday, February 16, 2017 at 4:09 pm

The Lincoln County Sheriff’s Department is partnering with the Tennessee Highway Safety Office (THSO) for its annual Seatbelts Are For Everyone (SAFE) campaign.

The 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.

This year, 2017, will mark the fourth year that THSO has sponsored the SAFE campaign. Last year’s effort yielded 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%,” said THSO Director Vic Donoho. “Last year, we soared to 88.95%. Through increased education, enforcement, and community development, we’re striving for 90% or higher.”

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 p.m. and 6 a.m. Historically, approximately 50% of Tennessee’s traffic fatalities are unbelted. That percentage increases to nearly 60 when nighttime crashes are examined.