- Associated Press - Wednesday, September 30, 2015

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - The Tennessee Highway Patrol has been selected to be a lead agency in a national pilot program.

THP Colonel Tracy Trott says the agency has been selected by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration as a partnering agency to conduct an occupant safety enforcement pilot program.

The THP has identified two counties where fatal crashes have increased due to lack of seatbelt use. They are Bedford and Hawkins counties.

The program kicks off in October and concludes Sept. 30, 2016. The THP will collect occupant protection data including seat belts, child restraint devices and motorcycle helmets from all participating agencies.

The information will be combined with the THP’s data and submitted monthly to NHTSA.

Year to date, 48 percent of all traffic fatalities in Tennessee were unrestrained motorists, compared with 54 percent in 2010.

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