NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Governor's Highway Safety office has been looking at new numbers on seatbelt use in Tennessee, and they said the numbers have been surprising.
For the first time in years, the office said seatbelt use has declined among middle Tennessee drivers.
In total, 1.5 percent fewer Tennesseans have been wearing seatbelts this year compared to last year, according to an annual UT study on seatbelt use.
The Governor's highway safety office said even a drop that seemingly small translates to tens of thousands of people not wearing seatbelts who did last year.
One specific area they saw a drop in seatbelt use was drivers of passenger vans.
“People would assume these are the vehicles your children are riding in, so if adults aren’t wearing a seatbelt, do we need to start worrying that the children in the back aren't properly restrained either?” said Amanda Brown with the Governor’s Highway Safety Office.
Starting in January, the fine for not wearing a seatbelt in Tennessee has been set to go up from $10 to $25.
The Governor's Highway Safety Office said they'll have a push in fall to educate people about the importance of seatbelt use before the fines for not wearing one increase.