Jan. 1 Means Increased Seat Belt Fines for Unbuckled Tennessee Drivers
Tennesseans throughout the state celebrated the New Year on Friday, and police are hoping that stiffer penalties for driving or riding without a seat belt will help keep them safer year-round.
WKRN.com reports that the increase in seat belt fines took effect on Jan. 1 and will affect all counties in Tennessee. Drivers and passengers who are found to be in a moving vehicle while not wearing a seat belt will be charged $25—a major increase from the previous fine of $10.
A spokesperson with the Tennessee Governor’s Highway Safety Office said that law enforcement will have an increased presence on Tennessee’s roadways to help remind drivers of the importance of buckling up and its effectiveness when it comes to preventing injuries and saving lives.
He went to say that half of the traffic fatalities in Tennessee are due to drivers and passengers not being buckled up at the time of their accidents, and that the Highway Safety Office’s mission by enforcing the law is to save lives.
3 Things Drivers Should Do before Heading out on the Roadway
Being a safe and effective driver means being alert while you’re behind the wheel and taking the necessary precautions before you even start your car. Avoiding distractions, never driving while intoxicated, and following all traffic laws are extremely important while you’re traveling down the road, but there are three things you should do before every trip to further increase your safety and the safety of your family:
- Check your vehicle’s tires.
Your tires are the only part of your vehicle that comes into contact with the road, so it’s vital that they are in great condition at all times. Before you get into your vehicle, take the time to walk around it and inspect all four tires. Do they appear to be damaged or underinflated? Are there any foreign objects lodged in the rubber? Are the wheels loose in any way? If there are issues with the tires or wheels, address them before you begin your travels.
- Adjust your mirrors and make sure they are properly aimed.
When you’re driving, you need to be aware of the entire space around your vehicle—not just the space in front of you. Mirrors make it possible for drivers to quickly check the areas to their left and right, as well as the space behind their vehicles. But if your mirrors aren’t properly aligned, you may have large blind spots that put you at risk of being involved in an accident. Check your mirrors before every trip and adjust them as necessary.
- Buckle your seat belt and make sure it is working properly.
Modern vehicles are equipped with many safety features, but none are more effective at saving lives and preventing serious injuries than seat belts. Buckling up is the most important thing you can do when you get in the car, whether you are a driver or a passenger. After you buckle up, it’s also important that you check your seat belt to make sure it is working properly. Verify that it is securely locked in place and that there’s enough tension in both the shoulder and lap harnesses to support you in the event of an accident.
Being an alert and attentive driver is critical for avoiding accidents and staying safe on the roadway, but it’s also important to protect yourself by making your vehicle as road-ready as possible and taking advantage of its most vital safety feature—the seat belts. Following the tips above will not only reduce your likelihood of being involved in an accident, but it can also help reduce your chances of suffering serious injuries if you are hit by another driver.
If you or someone you love was recently injured in an auto accident that was caused by a careless or negligent driver, the Nashville auto accident attorneys at Matt Hardin Law may be able to help you. We have 20 years of experience assisting victims like you. To contact us, dial (615) 200-1111 or complete a free online form.