While many people may find seat belts annoying, they are installed in every vehicle to save and protect lives. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration stated that nearly 15,000 people were saved in motor vehicle crashes by wearing seat belts in 2017. The good news is that over 90 percent of Tennesseans wore seat belts in 2022.
However, there are still some people who are confused, unsure, or simply need a refresher when it comes to Tennessee’s seat belt laws. The car accident attorneys at Gatti, Keltner, Bienvenu & Montesi, PLC, are here to assist you after an accident.
What Is Tennessee’s Law Regarding Seat Belts?
According to TCA 55-9-603, Tennessee is a state that requires seat belts. The law mentions that “drivers must wear safety belts when operating a motor vehicle in Tennessee. Drivers are also responsible for ensuring that all passengers are belted in.”
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Who Is Legally Required to Wear Seat Belts in Tennessee?
The state of Tennessee requires all passengers and drivers to wear seat belts whenever their vehicles drive. Some people may think that if they are in the back seat, they do not need to wear a seat belt. However, all backseat passengers must wear seat belts as well.
The seat belt is required because it ensures that the driver and passengers are safe and secure in their seats in case of an accident. Without being properly buckled up, individuals face the possibility of being ejected from the vehicle, hitting the windshield, or experiencing more traumatic injuries than they would have if they were buckled up.
Although most vehicles have airbags to prevent severe or deadly injuries, seat belts are still needed. Airbags and seat belts work together to provide the necessary protection during a car accident. Therefore, it is highly recommended that you always wear a seat belt when the vehicle is in motion.
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Types of Injuries that May Occur During an Accident if a Person Is Not Wearing a Seat Belt
Although many motor vehicle accidents result in death if a person is not wearing a seat belt, some people are lucky enough to survive these accidents. However, they will most likely suffer catastrophic injuries that will impact their day-to-day activities for the rest of their lives. Here are some of the most common types of injuries that occur during an accident if a person is not wearing a seat belt:
- Whiplash or neck injuries
- Head and skull injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Internal bleeding
- Internal organ damage
- Severe bruising
- Lung injuries
- Back and spinal cord injuries
- Facial and dental injuries
- Cuts and lacerations
- Broken and fractured bones
- Soft tissue injuries
You may be under the impression that having an airbag is sufficient to protect you during a car accident. However, this could not be further from the truth. As mentioned, airbags and seat belts provide extra support and protection during a car accident, preventing you from being thrown out of the vehicle or colliding with objects in the vehicle.
The goal of these important parts of your vehicle is to ensure that you remain seated in an upright position even when a strong impact occurs.
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What Are the Consequences of Not Wearing a Seat Belt in Tennessee?
If you are pulled over by a police officer and caught not wearing a seat belt in Tennessee, you must pay a $30 fine for a first-time offense. If this is your second or third offense, you must pay a $55 fine. This fine will go to the court clerk in the county if you are caught without a seat belt.
Tennessee law enforcement officers are working hard to ensure that everyone complies with their seat belt laws. One of the campaigns that the state runs every summer is called “Click It or Ticket.” When this campaign starts running, police officers hit the road searching for drivers and passengers not wearing their seat belts.
Since people travel more during these months, their objective is to get out and ensure that people are taking the necessary safety precautions by wearing their safety belts.
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What Are the Laws Regarding Children and Seat Belts in Tennessee?
There are a few different rules when it comes to Tennessee’s law regarding children and seat belts. We will explain the rules below.
- Any child under 20 pounds or the age of one must be placed in a car seat or child restraint system. This system must be rear facing.
- Any child over 20 pounds and between the ages of one and three must be in a car seat or child restraint system. However, the system can face forward.
- A child shorter than four feet and nine inches and between the ages of four and nine must be placed in a booster seat.
- A child taller than four feet and nine inches and between the ages of nine and 12 should sit in the back seat and use a seat belt.
- Children between 13 and 15 can sit in the front or back but must be in a passenger restraint system.
If law enforcement catches your children under 16 not buckled up or in a restraint system, you will receive a $50 fine. You deserve to be compensated for your losses when injured in a Tennessee car accident. Call our firm today to schedule a free consultation.
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Were You Involved in a Car Accident in Tennessee? If So, Call Our Car Accident Lawyers Today
If you were injured in a recent car accident, please do not hesitate to contact the car accident attorneys at Gatti, Keltner, Bienvenu & Montesi, PLC, as soon as possible. The defendant may claim you were not wearing a seat belt during the accident, leading to severe injuries. However, our lawyers have the knowledge, skills, and tools to protect your rights and ensure your story is told. Fill out our contact form today to get started on your claim.
We will remain by your side, fighting for your right to the compensation you deserve.