The Tennessee Governor’s Highway Safety Office is joining hundreds of law enforcement officials and safety advocates nationwide to remind motorists that safety belts do save lives during the annual Click It or Ticket education and enforcement campaign.
Law enforcement agencies will conduct special nighttime Click It or Ticket enforcement and education efforts through June 6.
Click It or Ticket events like these are credited with increasing the national seat belt usage rate from 58 percent in 1994 to an observed usage rate of 84 percent in 2009. In Tennessee, seat belt usage has increased from 59 percent in 2000 to 81.5 percent in 2008.
“It’s just plain common sense. Wearing a safety belt greatly increases the chance you will survive a crash,” said TDOT Commissioner Gerald Nicely. “Statistics show more people not buckled up die in crashes at night, which is why TDOT is supporting enhanced nighttime enforcement of safety belt laws during this Click It or Ticket campaign.”
More than half of people killed in passenger vehicle crashes in 2009 in Tennessee were not wearing a safety belt, according to preliminary figures, and more unrestrained deaths occurred during nighttime hours. Preliminary 2009 numbers show 216 unbelted people died during nighttime hours while 195 motorists not buckled up died during the daytime hours.
Nationally, 12,671 people died in passenger vehicle crashes at night between the hours of 6 p.m. and 5:59 a.m. in 2008, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Nearly two-thirds, or 64 percent, of those who died were not wearing their seat belts at the time of the crashes, compared to less than half, 45 percent, of the people who died in passenger vehicle crashes during the day between 6 a.m. and 5:59 p.m.