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Don’t buckle up? Rockwood police are looking for you

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Rockwood Police Department is partnering with the Tennessee Governor’s Highway Safety Office for the 2015 Seatbelts Are for Everyone campaign.

The SAFE campaign is designed to increase seat belt and child passenger safety restraint usage in Tennessee.

“The RPD will be watching for seatbelt violations and will be practicing a zero-tolerance approach as we help lower the number of traffic crash fatalities across the state and make our roadways safer for our citizens,” said Brad Collins, a patrolman with Rockwood Police Department.

Rockwood police are among the law-enforcement officers the state is encouraging to participate in the campaign by planning and implementing occupant protection initiatives in their communities.

The Governor’s Highway Safety Office reports that last year, Tennessee reached its highest seat belt use rate in history at 87.71 percent.

“We are excited to see that more people are making the right choice to buckle their seat belt,” said Governor’s Highway Safety Office Director Kendell Poole. “However, historically we’ve seen that approximately 50 percent of our fatalities statewide are unrestrained. This shows us that we still have work to do.”

He added, “Partnering with law enforcement to back up our educational messages is the best way for us to achieve additional increases in seat belt use.”

This is the second year that the Governor’s Highway Safety Office has sponsored this campaign. Last year yielded the following results:

• 1,718 child restraint violations

• 30,147 seat belt citations

• 773 other seat belt enforcement activities

“It is vitally important that all drivers and passengers buckle up every trip, every time,” Collins said. “According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, most fatal crashes happen within 25 miles from home and at speeds of less than 40 mph.”

The SAFE campaign will be ongoing now through July 31.

Rockwood and other agencies participating in the voluntary campaign become eligible to win one of two fully equipped police vehicles at the Tennessee Law Enforcement Challenge in August.