Tennessee Achieves Record High Seat Belt Usage in 2023

Tennessee's seat belt usage rate hits a record 92 percent in 2023.

The Tennessee Highway Safety Office (THSO) has announced that the state’s seat belt usage rate has reached an all-time high of 92 percent. This milestone was revealed through the THSO’s annual roadside observational survey, which assesses the average seat belt usage across the state. The 2023 figure shows a notable increase from the 90.5 percent recorded in 2022, marking a 1.5 percent growth in seat belt usage within a year.

THSO Director Buddy Lewis emphasized the life-saving potential of seat belts, stating, “Seat belts save lives.” He further explained the survey’s objective, which is to identify demographics and regions in Tennessee that require more support to enhance seat belt use. The ultimate aim is to minimize traffic-related injuries and fatalities throughout the state.

To achieve this, the THSO has been actively promoting occupant protection education by supporting programs like Ollie Otter, Reduce TN Crashes, and other initiatives funded by THSO grants. Another key effort is the endorsement of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s “Click It or Ticket” campaign, which encourages citizens to always wear their seat belts.

The 2023 survey involved the observation of nearly 27,000 vehicle occupants across 190 predetermined locations in Tennessee. The vehicles included in the survey ranged from passenger cars and pickup trucks to vans and SUVs. Among these, the highest seat belt usage rate was recorded among SUV occupants at 96.1 percent, whereas pickup truck occupants had the lowest rate at 82.4 percent. The survey also highlighted that female occupants had a higher usage rate (97.6 percent) compared to males (88.4 percent), and front-seat passengers were more likely to wear seat belts (93 percent) compared to drivers (91.8 percent).

Furthermore, the survey revealed that county-level seat belt usage rates exceeded 90 percent in 11 out of 16 counties, with Davidson and Knox Counties leading at a tie of 95.1 percent. This comprehensive data was gathered through an annual roadside observational survey conducted by the University of Tennessee’s Center for Transportation Research in the spring of 2023, adhering to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Uniform Criteria for State Observational Surveys of Seat Belt Use.

Source: Read Original Release

Tennessee Promise Marks a Decade of Educational Opportunities

The Tennessee Promise program, celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2024, has significantly increased college enrollment in Tennessee by providing over 150,000 students with $207 million in funding for tuition-free technical and associate degrees.