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On April 9, 2016, two people were killed and five others injured in a single vehicle crash that happened around 10pm on Interstate 40 West near mile marker 238 in Lebanon, Tennessee.   A Chevrolet Suburban carrying the 6 passengers along with the driver were traveling westbound when the vehicle lost control and rolled, coming to a final rest in the middle of the highway.  32 year-old, Jessica Taylor and 28 year-old Jonathan Lustre were killed in the crash.  They were the only two passengers not wearing a seatbelt.

In a horrific story we’ve covered in a previous blog, on April 18, 2016, 66 year-old John Kurtz was killed when 30 year-old Austin Hullett III, failed to stop at the red light at Blue Hole and Bell Road in Antioch, Tennessee causing him to slam into Kurtz’s Chevrolet Suburban.  Upon impact, Kurtz was thrown from his SUV and died at scene.

On May 11, 2016 in Almaville, Tennessee, 35 year-old Dietrich Collins was killed when ejected from his overturned vehicle after leaving the roadway and striking a culvert at high speeds.  Authorities said Collins was not wearing a seatbelt.

Authorities believe in the cases above, had the individuals been wearing seat belts, they would have likely survived.  They may not have been free of serious or life-threatening injuries but that they would have survived.  And this death toll is just an excerpt of the unrestrained driver-fatality new stories that made headlines within the past 60 days in Middle Tennessee.

TN Unrestrained Driver Fatal Crash Data

According to the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security, there were 289 unrestrained fatalities on Tennessee roadways in 2013, and that was a 12.7% decrease from 2012, presumably as a result  of Tennessee Highway Patrol’s major crackdown; an increased effort and presence enforcing the “Click It or Ticket” campaign, ticketing unrestrained drivers and their passengers.

Click It or Now Pay More for Your Ticket 

The State of Tennessee first enacted a mandatory seat belt law in 1986. Tennessee’s current seat belt use rate is 86.2 percent.  On a national level, this classifies Tennessee as “low use” state. In 2015, the law was again amended to double the fine for seat belt citations.  As of January 1, 2016, 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.

The most recent data reveals that by the winter of 2015, Tennessee state troopers had issued over 107,000 seat belt citations. “That is a 255 percent increase over the same time period in 2010,” said Commissioner Bill Gibbons with the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security.  “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.”

Safety is a Snap Away

Please remember to buckle up; it could save your life.

About Rocky McElhaney Law Firm

Rocky McElhaney and his team of Nashville car wreck attorneys work to level the playing field for our clients who have suffered serious and life-altering injuries as a result of another driver’s negligence on the roadway.

If you’ve been injured or have lost a loved in a car wreck that was caused by another driver’s carelessness, call the experienced and diligent auto accident, wrongful death, and defective product liability attorneys at the Rocky McElhaney Law Firm for a free consultation.  We don’t get paid until we make a recovery for you so there is nothing to lose by making that call and finding out how we can help.  (615) 425-2500 We fight for you!