Traffic Deaths Up In Tennessee For 2012 From Prior Year

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security officials on Wednesday joined representatives from the state’s Department of Transportation and Governor’s Highway Safety Office to announce the preliminary number of traffic fatalities in 2012. Early figures indicated there was an increase in vehicular deaths on Tennessee roadways last year. These figures indicated all vehicular fatalities in Tennessee reported by law enforcement agencies across the state.

In 2012, there were 1,019 traffic-related deaths in Tennessee, representing the third lowest figure since 1963 when 941 people were killed as a result of a crash. However, last year’s preliminary number of traffic deaths marked an 8.8-percent increase, compared to 2011, when there was a record-low number of 937 vehicular fatalities.

“We recorded the lowest number of traffic deaths in 48 years in 2011. We knew those figures would be difficult to replicate. However, despite last year’s increase, traffic fatalities in Tennessee have declined by nearly 24 percent since 2004. The downward trend indicates that we are moving in the right direction, but we must do better,” Safety and Homeland Security Commissioner Bill Gibbons said.

"When we began posting the fatality numbers on our message boards, our number one goal was to make drivers think about risky behavior that could cost them their lives," TDOT Commissioner John Schroer said. "In addition to raising awareness, we are also investing millions of dollars in projects to improve safety across the state."

Tennessee has experienced a decline in roadway incidents in several categories over the past decade. Since 2004, overall traffic crashes have dropped by 7.8 percent across the state; traffic fatalities involving large trucks have decreased by 39.5 percent since 2005; all-terrain vehicle (ATV) deaths have declined by 50 percent since 2008; and pedestrian fatalities have decreased by 19 percent over the past year.

Also, impaired driving fatalities fell 31.8 percent from 2007 to 2011 in Tennessee. In 2012, statistics indicate 246 people were killed in alcohol-related crashes across the state (24.1 percent). Additionally, Tennessee State Troopers had increased their number of DUI arrests by 25.4 percent last year over 2011.

“Impaired driving and seat belt usage continues to cause a major concern for the law enforcement community and highway safety advocates,” THP Colonel Tracy Trott said. “Our agency will continue to focus on these traffic safety issues with seat belt saturations, sobriety checkpoints and ‘No Refusal’ enforcement campaigns in 2013. We only hope the citizens of Tennessee help us in this effort to save lives – buckle up and don’t drink and drive.”      

In Tennessee, unrestrained motorists accounted for more than half (52.7 percent) of vehicle occupants killed in 2012. Other contributing factors in fatal crashes included speed and distracted driving, with 141 and 56 deaths, respectively.

“Distracted driving is the number one killer of teens nationwide,” GHSO Director Kendell Poole said. “Last year, teen traffic fatalities increased just over 10 percent in Tennessee. Our goal is to coordinate safety initiatives with state and local law enforcement partners to educate the public on responsible habits on the road, including enforcements and safety messages on seat belt usage and impaired and distracted driving.”

Another area of concern is the number of motorcycle fatalities, which have more than tripled in Tennessee in the last 14 years. Last year, 138 motorcyclists lost their lives on state roadways, compared to 114 motorcyclist deaths in 2011.  That’s a 21.1-percent spike in motorcyclist fatalities.

“Drinking and driving is not just a problem for motorists in passenger vehicles,” Colonel Trott said. “Of the 138 motorcycle fatalities in Tennessee last year, 20.3 percent of them were alcohol-related. We hope to reduce serious injury and fatal crashes amongst motorcyclists in 2013, by focusing on education and enforcing impaired driving laws.”

According to the National Safety Council (NSC), traffic fatalities increased by five percent nationally in the first 11 months of 2012. Besides Tennessee, preliminary statistics indicated increases in roadway deaths were experienced in several surrounding states, including: Georgia, Kentucky, Missouri, North Carolina and Virginia.

Preliminary statistics indicated 36 people have died on Tennessee roadways in 2013, the same figure as this time last year. 



Body Found In Candies Creek Behind Cleveland Church

A body was found in a Cleveland creek on Sunday afternoon. Cleveland Police said the body was in Candies Creek behind the Westwood Baptist Church. The body was located just after 2 p.m. An autopsy was to be performed on Monday. (click for more)

Corker Seeks Information On Provision In Tax Reform Conference After "False Reports"

Following what he called false reports over the weekend about his involvement in the tax reform legislation, Senator Bob Corker wrote to Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) on Sunday seeking information about where the provision in question originated. The senator is not a member of the tax-writing committee and had no involvement in crafting the legislation, ... (click for more)

The Growing Monopoly

Over the last decade, five tech giants have risen to the top, and created, discovered and invented services and products that have made these companies worth billions today. Those five, of course, are Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, and Google. Each of these companies are responsible for several products and services that we use in our everyday lives. They have devoured the ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Those We All Ignore

I was in the midst of my “morning readings” the other day when a number leapt off my computer screen. Hark, heralded angels, did you know in the state of Iowa there are two (2) inpatient psychiatry beds for every 100,000 people? I’m not the best with percentages but there are some people in Iowa who aren’t getting the help they need. There are roughly 3.2 million people living in ... (click for more)

Lady Mocs Rally Late To Trip Florida Gulf Coast

What a difference a week makes. Coach Jim Foster was verbally upset and unhappy following a sloppy and uninspired performance by the Chattanooga Lady Mocs and the result was an embarrassing 64-44 loss to Virginia Tech. The Lady Mocs were facing another really good non-conference opponent in the Florida Gulf Coast Lady Eagles, a member of the Atlantic Sun Conference.  ... (click for more)

Commerce Wins Bradley Invitational With Four Champs

CLEVELAND, Tenn. – The host Bradley Bears were the two-time defending champs in their own Bradley Invitational this weekend at Jim Smiddy Arena, but they weren’t able to make it a three-peat. The Commerce Tigers, a powerhouse Class A team from Georgia, had a slim three-point lead going into Saturday afternoon’s medal rounds, but after winning all four of their championship matches ... (click for more)