TN. Dept. of Safety & Homeland Security, TDOT Stress Positive Impact of Increasing Seat Belt Fines; Remind Drivers to Buckle Up

FATAL ACCIDENT: A 40-year-old Fentress County man, identified as Marty Garrett, sustained fatal injuries in a single-vehicle accident on Thursday, December 10 on the Gatewood Ford Road.  According to reports, Mr. Garrett was traveling south on the Gatewood Ford Road when his 2001 Chevy pickup left the road and sideswiped a large tree before going over a steep embankment, and overturning.   Mr. Garrett, who was reportedly not wearing a safety belt, was partially ejected through the passenger side window.  The vehicle then came to rest on its passenger side against a large boulder and a tree. The accident was investigated by Tennessee Highway Patrol Trooper Jamie Stephens, assisted at the scene by officers from the Fentres County Sheriff’s Department, Rescue Squad, EMS, and Fire Departments.    (Photo by Jeff Gessner, Fentress County Deputy EMS Director)

FATAL ACCIDENT:
A 40-year-old Fentress County man, identified as Marty Garrett, sustained fatal injuries in a single-vehicle accident on Thursday, December 10 on the Gatewood Ford Road. According to reports, Mr. Garrett was traveling south on the Gatewood Ford Road when his 2001 Chevy pickup left the road and sideswiped a large tree before going over a steep embankment, and overturning. Mr. Garrett, who was reportedly not wearing a safety belt, was partially ejected through the passenger side window. The vehicle then came to rest on its passenger side against a large boulder and a tree. The accident was investigated by Tennessee Highway Patrol Trooper Jamie Stephens, assisted at the scene by officers from the Fentres County Sheriff’s Department, Rescue Squad, EMS, and Fire Departments.
(Photo by Jeff Gessner, Fentress County Deputy EMS Director)

NASHVILLE  Commission-er Bill Gibbons of the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security (TDOS&HS), Colonel Tracy Trott of the Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP), Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) Commissioner John Schroer and Governor’s Highway Safety Office (GHSO) Director Kendell Poole called the increase  in seat belt fines an effective additional tool to curb traffic fatalities in the state.

As of January 1st, 2016 the fine for seat belt violations will more than double.  The fine for a first offense seat belt violation will be raised to $25.00 and the second and subsequent offense will be $50.00.

“So far this year, state troopers have issued over 107,000 seat belt citations,” Commissioner Bill Gibbons said.  “That is a 255 percent increase over the same time period in 2010.  We will continue to make this a priority, but we hope the day will come when it is difficult for a state trooper to find a motorist not wearing a seat belt.  We hope the tougher fines will encourage motorists to obey the law.”

Along with announcing the seatbelt fine increase, The TDOS&HS recently announced a reminder that THP will be out in force during the holiday period to ensure travelers reach their destination safely. State troopers will focus their attention on traffic violations that place motorists in jeopardy, such as distracted driving, speeding, impaired driving and lack of seat belt usage.   The holiday enforcement period will begin at 12:01 a.m. on December 24th and conclude at midnight on December 27th.

The holiday season is one of the deadliest and most dangerous times of the year due to an increase in impaired driving.  The THP will utilize several enforcement tools, including saturation patrols, bar and tavern checks, and driver license and sobriety checkpoints to help reduce serious injury and fatal crashes over the holiday season.

Read the rest of story in this weeks Fentress Courier.