Motor Vehicle Crashes

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for Tennessee teenagers.  Each year an average of 68 children ages 15-19 die as a result of motor vehicle crashes.  Motor vehicle crashes are also the leading cause of death for ages 1-14 and the second leading cause for emergency room visits and hospitalizations for this age group.

For Children

The Tennessee Department of Health manages the child safety fund generated through fines for non-use of a child safety seat.  These monies are distributed to entities throughout the state for the sole purpose of purchasing and distributing car seats to families with infants and young children.  Hospitals, health departments and other non-profit organizations apply for the funds on an annual basis and distribute over 2000 infant, toddler and booster seats each year. Parents in need of a car seat can call the health department at 615-741-7353 for resources in their area.   

Child Safety Seat Infographic (2022)

For information about the Tennessee car seat law click here.

For answers to common car seat questions and installation tips click here.


For Teens


Battle of the Belt Battle of the Belt is a statewide seat belt competition for Tennessee high schools. Schools have unannounced seat belt checks to see how many students are wearing their seat belt. In addition, the students are responsible for conducting a seat belt educational campaign for their peers.  A trophy will be awarded at the end of each school year to the school with the highest percentage of seat belt use and the best educational campaign. Seat belt use percentage will account for 40% and the educational campaign will account for 60% in determining the overall winner. For detailed information about how to conduct the program click here.   If your school is interested in participating in the Battle of the Belt competition, please contact the state injury prevention program at 615-532-7778.

Checkpoints helps parents by providing facts about teen driving safety; showing parents what they can do to help teens be safer drivers; and providing a free interactive parent-teen driving agreement to help teens navigate the first year of unsupervised driving.  The program provides parents with information about:

  • Risks teens face when first licensed.
  • How they can make their teens’ driving safer.
  • How to effectively communicate with teens about safe driving.
  • Interactive parent-teen driving agreements that set clear guidelines and consequences for their teens’ early driving.

Schools interested in implementing a Checkpoints program can contact the state injury prevention program at 615-532-7778.

REDUCETNCRASHES.ORG is a school-based crash reduction campaign managed by the Tennessee Highway Safety Office and follows the National Highway Safety Traffic Safety Administration’s best practices known to reduce crashes.  Schools can complete motor vehicle crash prevention activities to earn points for their school.  The website has a description of several evidence-based activities with the number of points schools can earn by completing them.   Once schools' complete activities, they submit the appropriate information on the website to get their points.  A scoreboard is kept on the website for schools to see how many points each school has earned.  Schools earning at least 100 points receive a bronze safety award, schools earning 1,000 points receive a silver safety award and schools earning 3,000 points get a gold safety award.

For Senior Adults

CarFit offers older adults the opportunity to check how well their personal vehicles “fit” them. Information and resources that could enhance the personal safety of older drivers are provided by trained technicians and/or health professionals.  At a CarFit event, a team of trained technicians and/or health professionals work with each participant to ensure they "fit" their vehicle properly for maximum comfort and safety. A CarFit check takes approximately 20 minutes to complete.  Using this site, you can click here to view an up-to-date listing of CarFit events scheduled throughout the country, or in your area.