Four people who died in traffic deaths this week may be alive if only they buckled their seat belts, said Rutherford County Sheriff’s Maj. Jacoby O’Gwynn.
Their deaths contributed to traffic fatalities increasing drastically this year, said O’Gwynn who commands the sheriff’s patrol division. Already, fatalities have surpassed last year’s totals by 20 percent.
“It saddens me that we have lost four of our citizens’ lives partially due to the fact they were not safely buckled up,” O’Gywnn said. “Our intentions are to get the message out that if you drive a motor vehicle in Rutherford County you must wear your seat belt.
“We often think of traffic fatalities as a victimless crime but in the past week, parents have lost their children, children have lost their parents and friends have lost friends,” O’Gwynn said. “The families and friends are the victims in every one of these deaths.”
To help prevent more fatalities, Rutherford County Sheriff’s deputies will focus more attention on seat belt violations, make more traffic stops and try to educate drivers about the importance of wearing their seat belts.
State law requires drivers and passengers to wear seat belts. Children must be buckled in child restraint seats or booster seats.
Wearing a seat belt is always important but because this is a holiday weekend, traditionally there is a rise in DUI violations, the major said.
Law enforcement officers throughout the county will be patrolling more heavily for drivers who drink while operating motor vehicles and watching for seat belt violations.
Sheriff Robert Arnold said he hopes law enforcement efforts will allow Rutherford County citizens to enjoy the Labor Day holiday weekend in a safe manner.