Tennessee to Double Fines for Being Caught Driving Without a Seat Belt
The cost of getting caught driving or riding in a vehicle without using a seat belt will increase on Jan. 1, 2016, from $10 to $25.
According to a report by wkrn.com, state officials announced the increase on Monday and also stated that third offenses will cost drivers and passengers $50.
A spokesperson said that state troopers in Tennessee have issued more than 100,000 seat belt violation tickets in 2015, which was increase of 255 percent over the same time period in 2010.
Proponents of the increase in fines say that tougher penalties for being caught without wearing a seat belt will help raise public awareness of the importance of always buckling up. In an effort to help increase the enforcement of the state’s seat belt laws, troopers with the Tennessee Highway Patrol will step up their patrols during the holidays.
Troopers will focus on stopping drivers who violate a variety of traffic laws, including driving while distracted, speeding, driving while impaired, or driving without wearing a seat belt. The increase enforcement period will begin just after midnight on Dec. 24 and end at midnight on Dec. 27.
How Do Seat Belts Save Lives and Reduce the Severity of Injuries?
Requiring the usage of seat belts by all occupants of vehicles, whether they’re drivers or passengers, is a measure that saves countless lives every year. Seat belts are by far one of the most effective safety features in vehicles, and they’re capable of not only saving lives, but also helping victims escape from accidents with minor injuries when they otherwise would suffer serious or even life-threatening injuries.
Seat belts are able to protect people who use them so effectively due to several factors, including:
- Seat belts prevent users from being ejected during accidents.
People who are ejected from vehicles during accidents are much more likely to suffer fatal injuries than people who remain inside their vehicles. Ejections are common during high-speed accidents or roll-over accidents, but victims who are restrained with seat belts will be held in place inside the vehicle and far less likely to be ejected through the windshield, door window, or other opening in the vehicle.
- Seat belts prevent users from impacting the steering wheel or dashboard.
Whether they’re traveling at 70 miles per hour or 30 miles per hour, vehicles that suddenly decelerate due to an accident transfer huge amounts of force onto their occupants. When the occupants aren’t wearing seat belts, they may strike the steering wheels or dashboards of those vehicles, causing them to suffer serious injuries. Seat belts hold victims in place and prevent them from striking those objects at high speeds—especially if the vehicle is also equipped with air bags.
- Seat belts prevent vehicle occupants from striking each other.
An often overlooked risk during car accidents is the dangers of occupants colliding with each other and suffering serious injuries. During accidents, unsecured victims may be thrown about inside the vehicle, with occupants in the back seat ending up in the front seat and vice versa. It’s not uncommon for unrestrained drivers and passengers to strike each other during accidents—which can make other occupants more of a risk factor than hard stationary objects like the steering wheel or dashboard.
In addition, seat belts also spread the force of the impact and the stress of the accident across the entire body, minimizing the impact on one specific area. They also protect the neck and spinal cord and reduce the chances that victims suffer whiplash or spinal cord injuries.
At Matt Hardin Law, our Nashville auto accident attorneys strongly support seat belt usage among all drivers and passengers. Not only is it required by law, but it’s also something that could save your life or the lives of your loved ones.
If you or someone you love was injured in an auto accident caused by a negligent driver, get in touch with our legal team today to find out how we may be able to help you recover compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and more. Contact us today by dialing (615) 200-1111 or completing a free online consultation form.