CHATTANOOGA, Tennessee -(WDEF) Seat belt violations for adults are only $10 but the cost could jump to $50.
Tennessee State Lawmakers are proposing a $40 hike in fines for people who are caught driving without wearing a seat belt. The fine would also pertain to passengers.
On Tuesday, lawmakers presented the proposal to the Senate Finance Committee and the House Transportation Committee in an attempt to encourage more people to buckle up.
The proposal has received mixed reactions from Chattanooga motorists.
"$50 is a little excessive but if it makes people wear their seat belts and everyone's safe on the road," said Carie Koscielny.
"Increasing the fine would not make you wear one," said Emily Cameron.
"I believe that if it would save lives then it's worth it," said Barbara Adair.
A spokesperson for the Chattanooga district of the state highway patrol said they couldn't comment on the proposal but could give WDEF some insight into the impact of not wearing a seat belt.
"I've seen people with bad face and head injuries where if they wore their seat belt, that probably wouldn't happen. So they're living the rest of their lives with scars or injuries," said trooper Steven Bourque.
According to state highway patrol statistics, last year 56% of the fatalities in the Chattanooga district involved people not wearing a seat belt and Bourque said those are the ones that are the hardest to deal with, especially when contacting next of kin.
"You're thinking in the back of your mind that if they were wearing their seat belt, this phone call or conversation would not have to exist," said the trooper.
Part of the problem is that many motorist may think Tennessee is like many other states where the only way to get ticketed for not wearing a seat belt is to get caught violating another traffic infraction like speeding.
"If I'm riding down the road and I notice that someone was not wearing their seat belt I can actually pull those folks over and issue a seat belt violation for that offense alone," Bourque said.
So far, the proposal to increase fines only applies to adults. The penalty for not restraining minors in a vehicle is already $50 dollars but there's no word if that penalty could increase as well.