New Enforcement Campaign Announced To Reduce Traffic Fatalities

Thursday, April 3, 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
 







Stay Safe Amid Eclipse Excitement

As the Tennessee Valley gears up for the solar eclipse on Monday, it’s important to stay safe amid all the excitement. If you are planning to view the eclipse from TVA public lands, keep the following safety points in mind.  Expect traffic jams. The Valley is expecting thousands of tourists, so roads will be crowded.  Plan to get to your viewing location a few hours ... (click for more)

SCWN Presents "Where To From Here: Creating A Strategic Plan" Webinar

Scenic City Women's Network presents "Where To From Here: Creating A Strategic Plan," a free webinar on discovering a strategy for success with Linda Bullard of LSMB Business Solutions. The webinar will held next Wednesday at noon.   Attendees will need to register by this Sunday.  To register, email your name, phone number, and email address to admin@scwn.org, ... (click for more)

Walker County Residents May Face Special Levy To Deal With Erlanger Debt, Penny SPLOST Transportation Tax On Top Of 2 Mil Property Tax Rise

Walker County, Ga., residents may face a special levy to deal with the Erlanger Health System debt as well as a new penny SPLOST transportation tax - on top of a planned two mil property tax rise. The two mil would equal to $80 on a $100,000 home. Sole Commissioner Shannon Whitfield said all of that is to take care of mountains of debt he said he inherited from the Bebe Heiskell ... (click for more)

State Plays Tape Of Prior Testimony Of Shooting Victim After He Refuses To Come To Court; No Video Was Collected Along Shooting Route

The state on Thursday played a preliminary hearing tape of shooting victim Kadarius Johnson after he refused to come to the Criminal Court trial of the man accused of shooting him in the back of the head. Witnesses said the car chase led through the downtown Tourist District near the Riverfront with a man in a white SUV firing shots at the driver of a Buick sedan. Prosecutor ... (click for more)

Shame On Anyone Planning A Protest At Coolidge Park Thursday Evening - And Response (7)

Whether you're Alt-Left or Alt-Right, Coolidge Park isn't the place to showcase your hate and indifference with one another. Just because it's your right, that doesn't necessarily mean that you should do it. Many have this misconception that this park is named after a President, Nope. It's named after a great man, a true patriot, and Medal of Honor recipient from right ... (click for more)

A Tale Of 3 Properties

Here in Lookout Valley on the far southwest edge of Chattanooga and Hamilton County, trees and rocks are plentiful but sidewalks are as rare as unicorns. It’s a land the governments forget – until tax collection time.  The recent county reappraisal spoke about ‘comps,’ recent sale prices of comparable local properties. But the assessors defined ‘comparable’ to suit themselves, ... (click for more)