Tennessee Launches Click It or Ticket to Help Save Lives

Tuesday, May 08, 2007 | 11:00 pm

Nashville, Tenn. – The nighttime hours can be some of the most dangerous on roadways across the nation. In 2005, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that more than 15,000 people died in traffic crashes that occurred at night between the hours of 6 p.m. and 5:59 a.m. and 59 percent of those killed were not wearing a safety belt at the time of the crash.

The amount of unbuckled deaths at night is considerably higher than in the day. Still, 44 percent of unrestrained occupants who died in daytime crashes nationwide were not buckled up.

As these numbers show, safety belt use is not just a state issue, it’s a national issue. So, today the Tennessee Governor’s Highway Safety Office (GHSO) reached out to law enforcement agencies in bordering states to kick off their Hands Across the Border enforcement campaign at Bicentennial Mall in Nashville. Hands Across the Border is designed to bring awareness to this year’s national Click it or Ticket campaign. Tennessee is joining forces with agencies in Kentucky, Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Missouri, and Mississippi in a pledge to actively enforce safety belt laws, increase safety patrols and conduct sobriety checkpoints during the highly traveled summer months. A new emphasis this year will be on convincing more motorists to buckle up – day and night.

“Clearly more drivers at night are taking the attitude that ‘it will never happen to me,’ but the risk of a fatal crash actually goes up significantly at night,” Commissioner Gerald Nicely, Tennessee Department of Transportation said. “It only makes sense that all vehicle occupants be properly restrained.”

Kendell Poole, Director of the Governor’s Highway Safety Office added, “Regular seat belt use is the single most effective way to protect people and reduce fatalities in motor vehicle crashes. In 2005, 77 percent of passenger vehicle occupants in a serious crash who were buckled up, survived the crash, and that when worn correctly, seat belts have proven to reduce the risk of fatal injury to front-seat passenger car occupants by 45 percent – and by 60 percent – in pickup trucks, SUVs and mini-vans.”

Nationally, nearly one in five Americans (19%) fail to regularly wear a seat belt when driving or riding in a motor vehicle according to NHTSA’s observational seat belt studies.

Stepped-up law enforcement activities will be conducted during the national “Click It or Ticket” enforcement mobilization, which runs May 21-June 3. The mobilization is being supported by a projected $10 million in paid national advertising, and additional advertising in each state, to encourage all motorists, but especially motorists at night, to always buckle up.

“Wearing a seat belt can be the difference in life and death in a crash and it’s the law,” said Tennessee Highway Patrol Colonel Mike Walker. “Unfortunately, too many people still need a tough reminder, so the Tennessee Highway Patrol will be out in force this summer buckling down on those who are not buckled up. Wearing your seat belt costs you nothing, but the cost for not wearing it certainly will. So unless you want to risk a ticket, or even worse, your life, please remember to buckle up day and night.”

Media events will be held throughout Tennessee bringing together troopers, local officers, government agencies and traffic safety advocates across all the Southeastern state to formally announce plans to promote strict adherence to all traffic laws. See below for complete schedule.

Hands Across the Border was created in 1991 by safety advocates across the Southeast to bring about awareness of safety belt and aggressive driving concerns. Participating state and local enforcement agencies sponsor education and community outreach events where motorists learn about the dangers of impaired driving and violating the speed limit as well as the importance of obeying all occupant protection laws.

Hands Across the Border 2007 Event Schedule

Event Date Time Location LEL Region
Kick-off Press Conference May 9th 10:00 AM Bi-Centennial Plaza James Robertson Pkwy Middle
Enforcement May 9th 9:00 PM Clarksville/KY Middle
Press Event May 11th 11:00 AM I-65 TN Welcome Center/ Caravan to AL Welcome Center Middle
Enforcement May 11th 9:00 PM Giles Co./ AL Middle
Press Event May 11th 10:00 AM I-55 Welcome Center West
Enforcement May 11th 9:00 PM TBD TN/MS/AR West
Enforcement May 12th 9:00 PM Clay Co./KY Cumberland
Press Event May 17th 10:00 AM (EDT) Blount Co. Sheriff’s Office
Maryville TN/KY/NC
East
Press Event May 17th 3:00 PM (EDT) Washington Co. Detention Center Jonesborough TN/VA East
Enforcement May 17th 9:00 PM (EDT) Bristol TN/VA East
Enforcement May 24th 9:00 PM Marion Co. TN/AL State Line Cumberland
Press Event May 25th 10:00 AM (EDT) I-75 Welcome Center TN/GA Cumberland
Enforcement May 25th 9:00 PM (EDT) Rossville Blvd. TN/GA State Line Cumberland