By Tamas Mondovics

The Tennessee Highway Safety Office (THSO) a division of the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security advocating for traffic safety was pleased to announce in a release last week a significant increase in the state’s overall seat belt usage rate, compared to previous years.
According to THSO officials, the usage rate rose from 88.5 percent in 2017 to 90.9 percent in 2018, which they said marks the first year Tennessee’s usage rate surpassed 90 percent. Tennessee’s 2018 usage rate also exceeded the national usage rate of 90.1 percent, the release said.
“Tennessee is the 24th state to achieve 90 percent seat belt usage,” said THSO Director Vic Donoho. “We appreciate the substantial efforts made by the legislature, law enforcement, and local communities to reach this milestone. Moving forward, we will continue striving to achieve 100 percent.”
Highlights from Tennessee’s 2018 seat belt survey are as follows.
• Research data was collected at 190 pre-identified roadway locations across the State of Tennessee.
• Researchers observed more than 27,000 front-seat vehicle occupants.
• Vehicles observed included cars, pickup trucks, vans, and SUVs.
• Overall, female occupants displayed a higher usage rate (94.8 percent) than males (88.3 percent).
• Pickup trucks displayed the lowest usage rate (84.24 percent).
The above data was collected through an annual roadside observational survey conducted by the University of Tennessee Knoxville’s Center for Transportation Research.
Tennessee’s seat belt usage rate is certified by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. THSO’s mission is to effectively develop, implement, and evaluate these programs. To learn more, please visit www.tntrafficsafety.org.
For more information, please contact Arriale Tabson at 615-767-3242 or arriale.tabson@tn.gov.