50 percent of drivers killed in Tennessee traffic fatalities did not wear safety belt

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About 50 percent of drivers killed in Tennessee traffic fatalities failed to wear their seatbelts, the Tennessee Highway Safety Office reported.

That's why the Rutherford County Sheriff's deputies will be urging drivers to always buckle seatbelts and place children in passenger safety seats during the annual Seatbelts Are For Everyone campaign from Feb. 1 to Aug. 1.

The sheriff's office is partnering with the Tennessee Highway Safety Office and other law enforcement agencies statewide to educate drivers about saving lives by simply wearing seat belts during the SAFE campaign.

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Officers will pay special attention to seatbelt enforcement at night since nearly 60 percent of motorists killed between 6 p.m. and 5:59 a.m. are not wearing seat belts.

THSO Director Vic Donoho said Tennessee's average seatbelt use rate stood at 86.23 percent in 2015. The rate increased to 88.95 percent last year.

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"Through increased education, enforcement and community involvement, we're striving for 90 percent or higher," Donoho said.

Rutherford County Sheriff Mike Fitzhugh said the sheriff's office was committed to partnering with THSO for traffic safety.

"We will increase our efforts to educate drivers about how seat belts save lives during a crash," Fitzhugh said. "We will also want to educate drivers who don't wear seat belts. With enforcement and education, we hope drivers and passengers will join our efforts to prevent fatalities and serious injuries."

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