New Enforcement Campaign Announced To Reduce Traffic Fatalities

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Governor’s Highway Safety Office, Tennessee Association of Chiefs of Police, Tennessee Sheriffs’ Association participate in the announcement and pledge support.

Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security Commissioner Bill Gibbons and Tennessee Highway Patrol Colonel Tracy Trott today joined police chiefs and sheriffs’ association leaders and highway safety advocates to announce the nationwide campaign to reduce traffic fatalities by 15 percent in 2014 – the “Drive to Zero Fatalities”.

  This national effort was initiated by the International Association of Chiefs of Police.

The “Drive to Zero Fatalities” campaign is a data-driven effort that will focus on several traffic safety enforcement goals, specifically, seat belt usage, impaired and distracted driving and speeding. It will also include enforcement actions against unsafe driving behaviors of large truck and bus operators. 

“Tennessee has recorded some of the lowest traffic fatality figures on record for the past three years. We attribute that accomplishment to the data driven deployment of our state troopers and the work of local law enforcement agencies across the state,” Commissioner Gibbons said.  “We hope this year-long traffic safety campaign will produce even better results in Tennessee and nationwide,” he added.  

In 2011, there were 937 traffic-related deaths on Tennessee roadways, while 990 people were killed in vehicular crashes in 2013, representing the lowest and second lowest figures, respectively, since 1963. In 2012, 1,018 people died as a result of a traffic crash, the third lowest figure since 1963. 

“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,” Colonel Trott said. “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. The “Drive to Zero Fatalities” is our goal for 2014,” he added. 

Colonel Trott noted that traffic fatalities on state roadways have decreased by nearly eight percent (7.7%) for the first three months of 2014, compared to this same time period in 2013. He also reported that 192 people died in traffic crashes in Tennessee from January 1 through March 31, 2014.  That is 15 fewer than the 207 vehicular fatalities that occurred during the same dates in 2013.

State Troopers have worked 476 alcohol-related crashes to date, a three percent increase from the 462 wrecks involving alcohol during the same time frame in 2013. Meanwhile, the number of DUI arrests made by THP personnel has risen 47 percent during the first quarter of 2014, versus last year’s first quarter impaired driving arrests.

“DUI enforcement is one of our agency’s top priorities. We are grateful for the support of both the Tennessee Association of Chiefs of Police and Tennessee Sheriffs’ Association in spreading the message to our local law enforcement partners across the state that DUI and seat belt enforcement is an essential component of our success,” Colonel Trott said.

As of March 31, the THP has issued 28,850 seat belt citations in 2014. That’s 11,752 more seat belt citations or a 69 percent increase than those issued during the first three months of 2013. However, Colonel Trott and others still expressed concerned about the number of unrestrained fatalities across the state.

“There has been an 18 percent increase in the number of unrestrained fatalities so far this year compared to last. Fifty-nine percent of the people killed in the first three months of 2014 were not wearing seat belts. That is unacceptable. The simple fact is, seat belt saves lives,” he said.

Distracted driving has become a concern in Tennessee and nationally in recent years. Tennessee has seen a drop in distracted driving crashes with 5,294 the first quarter of 2014, compared to 5,724 during the same time last year.

“We recently announced April as National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, and encourage all law enforcement agencies to take an active role in raising awareness on the dangers of distracted driving through this ‘Drive to Zero Fatalities’ campaign,” Kendell Poole said. He serves as the director of the Governor’s Highway Safety Office.

State Troopers will also ensure the safe operation of commercial motor vehicles across the state by conducting truck inspections and placing unsafe drivers or trucks out of service. 

A summary of THP’s three month performance measures are listed below.

THP Statewide Three-Month Performance Measures:  January 1 – March 31, 2014

 All Crashes Investigated
 In 2013 - 5,784
 In 2014 - 5,756
 
Injury Crashes Investigated
 In 2013 - 2,097
 In 2014 - 1,908
 
Alcohol Impaired Crashes
 In 2013 - 476
 In 2014 - 472
 
Traffic Fatalities (all TN law enforcement agencies)
 In 2013 - 207
 In 2014 - 192
 
DUI Arrests
 In 2013 - 1,535
 In 2014 - 2,255
 
Total Citations
 In 2013 - 98,258
 In 2014 - 118,329
 
Seat Belt Citations
 In 2013 -  17,098
 In 2014 - 28,850
 
Commercial Motor Vehicle Inspections
 In 2013 - 24,169
 In 2014 - 19,636
 






16-Year-Old Native American Flute Sensation Performs At Red Clay Pow Wow

Sixteen-year-old Native American flute sensation, multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, songwriter, producer and rising star Gareth Laffely will perform at Red Clay Pow Wow 2014 in Cleveland at Red Clay State Park on Saturday and Sunday.  Hours are 10 a.m. until dusk on Saturday and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on Sunday.  Admission is a $5 donation per car. Gareth will be performing ... (click for more)

Dr. Joe Martin Speaks At PEF Luncheon, "Teachers Have A Chance To Save Lives"

Dr. Joe Martin, speaking at an event for the 25th anniversary of the Public Education Foundation's partnership with Hamilton County schools, said his seventh grade English teacher "literally saved my life and she didn't even know it." Dr. Martin said, "She didn't know that I was being raised in one of the toughest projects of Miami." His teacher, whom he called Ms. G, also did ... (click for more)

Man Shot At Apartments On Tunnel Boulevard Wednesday Afternoon, Then 2 Juveniles Shot At Rec Center On Oakwood Drive With Suspects In Custody

Chattanooga police officers responded to the apartment buildings at 404 Tunnel Blvd. Wednesday at 1:21 p.m., where residents say they heard multiple shots fired.  Witnesses said they saw multiple suspects fleeing the scene on foot behind the complex.  The male victim was taken to a local hospital for life threatening gunshot wounds.  Later Wednesday, ... (click for more)

Several Arrested Outside Erlanger Hospital When Crowd Gathers After Woodlawn Shooting

Several people were arrested Monday night outside Erlanger Hospital after a crowd gathered and clashed with police. The crowd included family and friends of 20-year-old Apprentice Berry, who was shot multiple times and killed earlier Monday night at the Woodlawn Apartments on Wilson Street. Erlanger officials said the group gathered at the emergency room, but were later moved ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Has Lost Its Most Popular Citizen - Luther Masingill - And Response

Chattanooga has lost its most popular citizen – Luther Masingill. Although we are saddened we cherish the memories.  All of us have a Luther story.  Mine is the first time I met Luther.  This was before TV and all of Chattanooga listened to Luther on the radio.  I was 12-years-old.  Some of my buddies and I had gone to the State Theater in downtown ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Policeman’s Prayer

Every year, when the Law Enforcement Foundation of Greater Chattanooga holds its annual luncheon, it is one of the most heartening displays of what America really believes, down deep inside. The most prominent and influential leaders in the community – well over 1,000 -- gather to pay tribute and pledge their support to our heroes in blue who are unfaltering in their devotion, service ... (click for more)