KINGSPORT – The Kingsport Police Department is currently participating in the State of Tennessee Governors Highway Safety Office SAFE (Seatbelts Are For Everyone) Campaign.‚  The SAFE Campaign runs from February 1, 2014 until August 1, 2014 with 169 law enforcement agencies across the state agreeing to participate.

The criteria for the SAFE Campaign include the following elements:

1)‚ ‚  Seatbelt Usage Rates Among Citizenry (based upon pre and post campaign surveys)

2)‚ ‚  Seatbelt Violation Citations

3)‚ ‚  Child Passenger Safety Seat/Child Restraint Violation Citations

4)‚ ‚  Seatbelt Education Awareness Efforts

5)‚ ‚  Seatbelt Enforcement Activities

According to the Governors Highway Safety Office, while nationally, seatbelt usage rates have increased steadily over time, in Tennessee that is simply not the case.‚  In 2013, more than half of Tennessees traffic fatalities involved unrestrained drivers or passengers.‚  The primary goal of the SAFE Campaign is to educate all motorists across the state about the importance of wearing seatbelts.

Pre-Campaign surveys conducted throughout the City of Kingsport indicated a seatbelt usage rate of just above 85 percent.‚  While in an ideal world, all motorists would wear their seatbelt 100 percent of the time, the Kingsport Police Departments goal during the SAFE Campaign is to increase usage rates in Kingsport to at least 90 percent.

To achieve this goal, the Kingsport Police Department will be stepping up seatbelt education and enforcement efforts.‚  In the State of Tennessee, a violation of the seatbelt law is considered a primary offense, meaning that if an officer observes a motorist not wearing a seatbelt, the officer may stop and cite the motorist for the seatbelt violation without observing any other offenses.

Wearing a seatbelt can easily make the difference in a motorist being seriously injured or killed in a crash versus literally walking away from the crash with minor injuries or completely unscathed.‚  The Kingsport Police Department encourages ALL occupants of ALL motor vehicles to wear their seatbelt ALL of the time.‚  It is the law, but more importantly, it might‚  just save a life.

Please be SAFE and remember that Seatbelts Are For Everyone!