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Road fatalities in Tennessee dropped to less than 1,000 last year

If you were pulled over and cited at some point in 2013, you are certainly not alone. Tennessee state troopers increased the number of DUI arrests made last year and issued more seat belt and child restraint device citations. But this was not just increased enforcement for its own sake. It was in pursuit of a larger safety goal.

Statistical data from the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security reveals that the total number of road fatalities in the state last year was less than 1,000; a feat which has only been achieved four times over the last 50 years. The 988 crash-related fatalities in 2013 represented a 2.7 percent drop from the previous year.

It seems as though the lower death rate is largely a result of increased and strategic law enforcement efforts. Because of the increase in drunk-driving arrests, fatalities from alcohol-related crashes were down about 26.7 percent from previous years. Additionally, state troopers issued more than twice as many seat belt and child restraint citations in 2013 than they did in 2010. Over that several-year period, such citations increased by 135.1 percent.

People sometimes fail to appreciate just how life-saving seat belts are. Nearly half (48.9 percent) of all vehicle occupants killed on Tennessee roads last year were not wearing seat belts at the time.

Unfortunately, two motorist behaviors continue to be problematic: speeding and distracted driving. The latter was responsible for 167 deaths in 2013, while speed was a factor in about 184 fatalities.

As we wrote at the beginning of the post, you may have been among the thousands of Tennessee drivers to get pulled over and cited last year. Hopefully, these statistics will be a reminder that safety laws exist for a good reason. By obeying them and driving carefully, we are likely saving our own lives.

Source: WBIR, “988 people died on Tennessee roads in 2013,” Jan. 2, 2014

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