On Tuesday, the Tennessee Highway Safety Office (THSO) announced what officials called a “significant increase” in the state’s overall seat belt usage rate when compared to previous years. The usage rate rose from 90.9 percent in 2018 to 91.75 percent in 2019, which exceeded the national rate of 90.7 percent. This marks the second year Tennessee’s usage rate surpassed 90 percent.
According to the THSO, research data was collected at 190 pre-identified roadway locations across the state, and researchers observed more than 34,000 vehicle occupants in all types of vehicles, including cars, pickup trucks, vans, and SUVs. This data was collected through an annual roadside observational survey conducted by the University of Tennessee Knoxville’s Center for Transportation Research, according to a press release, which also stated that this data has been certified by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Overall, the study found that female occupants displayed a higher seat belt usage rate (96.7 percent) than males (87.9 percent), and that by vehicle types, pickup trucks displayed the lowest usage rate (84.9 percent).