NASHVILLE — Motorists who don’t buckle up in Tennessee will soon face a stiffer fine.

A new law passed by state lawmakers and signed by the governor takes effect on Jan. 1.

State law enforcement officials held a news conference on the steps of the state Capitol this week to discuss the measure.

It increases the fine for first-time offenders who are not wearing a seat belt from $10 to $25 and from $20 to $50 for repeat offenders.

So far this year, Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security Commissioner Bill Gibbons says more than 300 people not wearing seat belts have died on Tennessee roadways.

He says state troopers have issued more than 107,000 seat belt citations so far this year.

He hopes the new law will encourage motorists to “simply wear their seat belts.”