Nine people lost their lives in traffic crashes in December, making this the deadliest month for traffic fatalities in Rutherford County, a sheriff’s corporal said.
Six of the deaths occurred within cities while three deaths occurred in rural areas of the county, said Sheriff’s Cpl. Michael Rodgers.
A total of 40 people died from traffic crashes in 2018 in the county, including 23 riding in vehicles, nine riding on motorcycles and five pedestrians.
Seventeen people were not wearing seat belts when they died in vehicle crashes.
That’s why the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office is encouraging drivers to wear seat belts every time they get into a vehicle.
“In 2019, we are asking drivers to buckle up and help us prevent traffic deaths,” Rodgers said.
The Sheriff’s Office is partnering with the Tennessee Highway Safety Office for its annual Seatbelts Are For Everyone campaign.
This statewide SAFE campaign is designed to increase seatbelt usage and child passenger safety restraint usage through programs, public events and checkpoints from Feb. 1 to Aug. 1.
This is the sixth year the THSO has sponsored the SAFE campaign. Last year yielded the following results:
- 1,182 child restraint violations
- 13,165 seat belt citations
- 305 other seat belt enforcement activities
“In 2017, Tennessee’s average seatbelt usage rate was 88.51 percent,” said THSO Director Vic Donoho. “Last year, the usage rate was 88.77 percent. Through increased education, enforcement, and community involvement, we’re striving to achieve 100 percent.”
This year, participating agencies will pay special attention to nighttime seatbelt enforcement.
Tennessee has seen a disproportionate percentage of unrestrained fatalities between the hours of 6 p.m. and 5:59 a.m.
Historically, about 50 percent of Tennessee’s traffic fatalities are unbelted. That percentage increases to nearly 60 percent at night.