(ORPD) 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 begins February 24, 2017, and concludes on August 1, 2017. “The Oak Ridge Police Department is committed to reducing the number of injuries and deaths on our roadways,” Chief of Police James Akagi said. “Wearing a seat belt is not just the law, but it can also save your life.”
2017 will be the fourth year that the THSO has sponsored the SAFE campaign. Last year yielded the following results:
- 1,717 child restraint violations
- 21,562 seat belt citations
- 723 other seat belt enforcement activities
“In 2015, Tennessee’s average seatbelt usage rate was 86.23%,” THSO Director Vic Donoho said. “Last year, we soared to 88.95%. Through increased education, enforcement, and community involvement, we’re striving for ninety percent 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 6:00 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.