Every hour, at least one person in this country dies because he or she did not buckle up. Failure to use a seat belt contributes to more fatalities than any other single traffic safety-related behavior.

More than 60% of vehicle occupants killed in crashes in Tennessee were not wearing safety belts. Research shows it is almost nine times safer to wear your safety belt.

Unrestrained children are 4.2 times more likely to die in a crash than restrained children. Less than 1% of children properly restrained were killed.

Tennessee’s local and state law enforcement officials work strenuously to educate every Tennessean through the Click It or Ticket campaign as to the necessity of seat belt usage by utilizing safety checkpoints and public information messages.

Sponsored by the Governor’s Highway Safety Office, Tennessee’s law enforcement agencies and public health officials, Click IT or Ticket aims to reduce serious injuries and fatalities on Tennessee’s roadways by reminding everyone to buckle up!

Click It Or Ticket FAQ

What is Click it or Ticket? Click It or Ticket is a high-visibility education and enforcement campaign of Tennessee’s seat belt laws.Sponsored by the Governor’s Highway Safety Office, Tennessee’s law enforcement agencies and public health officials, Click It or Ticket aims at reducing serious injuries and fatalities on Tennessee’s roadways by reminding everyone to buckle up.

Who is covered by the law? All drivers and front seat passengers are covered by the seat belt law and must have a seat belt properly fastened about their bodies at all times when the vehicle is in a forward motion. Children less than age 18 are covered under the Tennessee Child Passenger Safety (CPS) and Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) laws. All occupants in ALL seating positions should ride buckled up to help protect all occupants. Unbuckled rear seat occupants can injure buckled up front seat occupants as well as themselves when they are thrown around or out of a vehicle in a crash.

Can I be ticketed for unbelted passengers? Drivers are responsible for themselves and for all child passengers less than age 18 in the front or back seat. Licensed passengers 16 or older are responsible for themselves and will be ticketed instead of the driver. The 2004 Law allows law enforcement to stop a vehicle if the driver and passengers are not properly restrained, whereas previously, they would have to be stopped for another offense before being ticketed.

When does Click It or Ticket happen? The Click It or Ticket enforcement blitz is scheduled for periods surrounding Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day. Drivers and passengers are always subject to the law when in moving vehicles.

Where is the enforcement? Click It or Ticket takes place statewide in Tennessee and throughout an eight state region that also includes North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Mississippi, Alabama and Kentucky.

Back to Top

Why is Click It or Ticket necessary? Don’t law enforcement officers enforce this law all the time? Seatbelt laws are enforced regularly along with many other safety laws. However, during regular enforcement activity, often the only person who knows that seat belt laws are being enforced is the person receiving the ticket. Aggressive, coordinated, highly publicized enforcement campaigns send a strong message that everyone must be buckled up. It also enhances the perceived importance of seat belt usage and, in turn, leads to greater compliance

Why devote state resources to Click It or Ticket? Traffic crashes are a leading cause of death in Tennessee and the United States. Therefore, they are a significant threat to public health. Failure to buckle up contributes to more fatalities than any other single traffic safety-related behavior. Increasing seat belt usage is the most effective and immediate way to save lives and reduce injuries on roadways. Crash data analysis indicates that seat belts used properly reduce the risk of fatal injury to front seat passengers.

Isn’t it my personal right to choose to buckle up or not? All traffic laws impose some limitation of choice on individuals. It is important to remember that driving is not a “right,” but a privilege, granted and controlled by the State of Tennessee. Citizens often accept the legitimacy of traffic laws because it is apparent to them that failure to obey the law could result in harm to the motorist or others. Opponents of the seatbelt law often claim that no one else would be hurt if they do not use seat belts. This is not true. Unrestrained occupants often injure others in crashes, and unbelted drivers have less control during a crash, often increasing the severity. Increased injuries result in increased costs to all Tennessee citizens.

What are the penalties for non-compliance? If you are unbuckled or have children in a vehicle who are not properly restrained, and you are stopped by law enforcement, you will be ticketed. A person charged with a violation may, in lieu of appearance in court, submit a fine of $10.00 for a first violation, and $20.00 on second and subsequent violations to the clerk of the court which has jurisdiction of such offense within the county in which the offense charged is alleged to have been committed.

Are both lap and shoulder belts required? The law requires the proper use of whatever seat belt system the seating position provides. Vehicles equipped with air bags also provide lap and shoulder belts that must be worn. Some vehicles have automatic shoulder belts with lap belts that are fastened manually. These manual lap belts must be used for compliance and for maximum protection.

Back to Top

How is the law that covers children different? Children less than 18 years of age are covered under the Child Passenger (CPS) Law. Children younger than 18 years of age may be buckled in the rear seat of the vehicle as well as the front seat. A child who is under one year of age, and weighs less than 20 pounds, must ride in a rear-facing safety seat that meets federal standards until they are at least 1 year old and weigh at least 20 pounds. It is best to ride rear-facing as long as possible. Any person transporting a child between the ages of 1 and 3, who weigh more than 20 pounds must ride in a forward-facing safety seat. Any driver transporting a child between the ages of 4 through 8 who is less that 4'9" tall is responsible to see that the child ride in a belt positioning booster seat. It is recommended that all child restraint systems be installed in the rear seat of the vehicle when available.

My car doesn’t have seatbelts. Do I have to install them? Cars manufactured after 1967 and vans, pickup trucks and sport utility vehicles manufactured after 1971, are required by federal standards to have belts. Belts must be installed in these vehicles if the original seat belts have been removed. Vehicles brought in from other countries must be upgraded to conform with applicable federal motor vehicle standards. This means that passenger vehicles, light trucks and vans brought in from other countries must be fitted with belts if they were manufactured after the above date.

Our pickup truck only has three seatbelts, but there are four in our family. What do we do? The bottom line is that there is no safe way to carry more people than you have belts to accommodate. If room allows, extra belts can be installed to protect more people. As far as the Seat Belt Law is concerned, if you have four people age 16 or older and three belts, the fourth person is in violation of the law. You also have the hard decision of who you are going to leave unprotected.

Are employees required to wear seatbelts in company cars? In most cases, yes. Unless the vehicle in question has a "commercial" or "farm" license plate and it is being used for business purposes, or is a delivery vehicle making frequent stops and not exceeding 20 mph, or is being used by a rural mail or newspaper carrier, it is covered under the Seat Belt Law. In addition, many employers have seat belt use policies for their vehicles.

I’m too large for my seatbelt to fit around me. What should I do? Seat belt extenders are available for most domestic vehicles for a small fee. These extenders are 10-inch lengths of webbing with buckles on both ends to fit onto the belts already in the vehicles. Take the information on the seat belt label, along with your vehicle, to the parts department of your local dealer. Extenders are not interchangeable, so go to the dealer for your particular vehicle. If you have any trouble getting service from the dealer, try another dealer or call the customer assistance number listed in your owner's manual. Check your owner's manual for an explanation of these belt systems.

Back to Top

Now that I’m pregnant, should I still wear a seatbelt? Yes, especially now. The greatest threat to the unborn child is death or serious injury to the mother, and a seat belt will help insure your survival in the event of a crash. When possible, both the lap and shoulder belt should be worn with the lap portion low and snug on the hips beneath the baby and the shoulder belt snug and above the baby.

Can’t seatbelts actually cause injuries? Yes, they can cause some injuries, especially in severe crashes. These injuries are usually limited to bruises and cracked collarbones and ribs - minor injuries when compared to what often happens without the seat belt. It is important that belts be worn correctly to reduce the chance that they might injure you. Lap belts should be worn as low and snug as possible on the hips since belts that are worn high on the stomach can cause injuries. Shoulder belts must also be worn snugly across the shoulder and chest. Never wear a shoulder belt with more than an inch of space between your chest and the belt. Too much slack will allow your head to go too far forward in a crash. If the shoulder belt rubs against your neck and is uncomfortable, try adjusting your sitting position or the position of the vehicle seat to get a proper fit. Cloth comfort sleeves can be placed on the shoulder belt to make it more comfortable. Do not place the shoulder belt behind your back or under your arm. With the shoulder belt behind the back, your head will be thrown forward to strike the dashboard, windshield, or the air bag. As with the belts behind the back, shoulder belts under the arm do not hold your head back away from danger. In addition, the belt under the arm can fracture ribs and cause serious internal injuries.


BusinessMedia Center
Tennessee Tech University
1105 N. Peachtree Ave.
Johnson Hall 425
Cookeville, TN 38505

   1-800-99BELTS (23587)
   or 931-372-6302 (local)