Every January, the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security releases a series of preliminary figures outlining the number of motor vehicle accident fatalities in the state over the course of the last year. While these figures can sometimes prove to be rather discouraging, this year's data actually shows that road safety may be improving here in the Volunteer State.
According to the agency, there were 988 traffic deaths in 2013. While this number certainly seems high, officials indicate that it is actually a 2.7 percent decrease from the 1,015 traffic deaths in 2012, and only the fourth time in the last 50 years that the number of traffic deaths dipped below 1,000. In fact, the last time this happened was 2011, when there were 937 traffic deaths, the lowest mark in nearly five decades.
Breaking the numbers down, the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security found the following:
- There were 211 drunk driving fatalities in 2013 (from 2010 to 2013, drunk driving deaths have fallen by an impressive 26.7 percent).
- There were 364 traffic fatalities involving unrestrained motorists in 2013 (accounting for 48.9 percent of the total number of traffic fatalities).
- There were 167 and 184 traffic fatalities linked to speeding and distracted driving, respectively.
- There were 85 pedestrian fatalities in 2013 (a 25 percent increase from 2012).
While officials are pleased that efforts to curb dangerous driving behaviors -- failure to wear a seatbelt, drunk driving, etc. -- are paying off, they are positioning themselves to work even harder in 2014 to lower the rate of traffic deaths.
"In 2014, we will employ a predictive analytics model (C.R.A.S.H.) to look even more closely at where traffic crashes are most likely to occur and deploy our resources, both in educational efforts and enforcement. We hope that this new tool will help reduce serious injury and fatal crashes across the state," said Colonel Tracy Trott of the Tennessee Highway Patrol.
If you have been injured or lost a loved one in a car accident caused by the negligence or recklessness of another here in Tennessee, you should strongly consider speaking with an experienced and dedicated attorney.
Source: Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security, "State officials announce 2013 Tennessee traffic fatality figures," Jan. 2, 2014