The last several years have seen rather encouraging developments here in Tennessee concerning the overall number of fatal traffic accidents. For instance, 2011 and 2013 saw the lowest and second lowest fatalities, respectively, since 1963, while 2012 saw the third lowest fatalities over that same timeframe.
In recognition of this progress and in an interest to continue making roads and highways that much safer, officials from the Tennessee Highway Patrol and the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security recently came together with local law enforcement officials to announce the state's participation in the nation "Drive to Zero Fatalities" campaign.
This data-driven campaign, sponsored by the International Association of Chiefs of Police, is seeking to lower the number of traffic fatalities here in the U.S. by 15 percent in 2014. This rather admirable objective, in turn, will be accomplished via enforcement actions targeting everything from speeding and distracted driving to drunk driving and unsafe truck operators.
"The message that we want to convey with "Drive to Zero Fatalities" is that no traffic fatality should be acceptable in your circle of friends. This is a personal slogan that everyone can relate to," said Colonel Tracy Trott of the THP. "Each one of us should have a vested interest in keeping our highways safe and preventing fatal crashes caused by impaired or distracted driving, failure to wear seat belts and speeding."
Thus far, statistics show that we are already off to a good start here in the Volunteer State in 2014:
- Over the first three months of 2014, traffic deaths on state roadways have decreased by 7.7 percent from the same timeframe last year.
- Over the first three months of 2014, car accidents attributable to distracted driving on state roadways reached 5,294, a sizeable drop from the 5,724 distracted driving crashes during the same timeframe last year.
However, these same statistics also reveal that there are certain areas that law enforcement officials will likely want to focus as part of the campaign:
- Over the first three months of 2014, the number of alcohol-related crashes on state roadways increased by 3 percent and the number of DUI arrests increased by 47 percent from the same timeframe last year.
- Over the first three months of 2014, the number of seat belt citations issued increased by 69 percent from the same timeframe last year.
Here's hoping that the campaign produces real results, and that those who are unfortunate enough to be involved in motor vehicle accidents are able to secure the justice they need and deserve.
Source: Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security, "Tennessee Department of Safety & Homeland Security, Tennessee Highway Patrol announce new enforcement campaign to reduce traffic fatalities," April 3, 2014