SHELBY COUNTY, TN (WMC) – This week you may see more police and sheriff deputies patrolling the roadways.
Memorial Day is the unofficial start to the summer travel season, and law enforcement agencies across Tennessee want to make sure everyone on the roadway buckles up.
This comes as loved ones are mourning the loss of 9-year-old Jaliya Lewis, who died in a car crash Sunday.
Investigators said she was one of three children not wearing a seat belt when the car they were in hit a tree in Orange Mound.
It’s a tragedy that happens far too often.
Tennessee records show 315 people who died in traffic crashes last year were not buckled up.
“You increase your chances of coming out an automobile accident without injury by 50 percent if you just have your seat belt on,” said Shelby County Sheriff’s Office PIO Earle Farrell.
Over the next two weeks, law enforcement agencies across Tennessee will be out in full force, as part of a nationwide campaign known as “Click It or Ticket.”
“What we’re looking for is people not wearing their seat belts,” Farrell said. “It’s going to be no excuses. We don’t care what your reason is for not having it on, you’re going to be ticketed.”
If it’s your first offense, it could cost as much as $160.
Authorities will focus primarily on nighttime hours between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. when they said seat belt use is at its lowest.
“That’s part of our job is to keep people from hurting themselves if we can and hurting other people,” Farrell said.
Sadly, that help didn’t come soon enough to save Jaliya on Sunday.
But authorities hope to prevent more tragedies like it from happening in the future.
The Click It or Ticket campaign runs through June 3 in Shelby County.