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

Chabad Of Chattanooga Honor Injured Officer At #Chanugastrong On Ice

To celebrate the 2015 Chanukah season, Chabad of Chattanooga will be carving a giant ice Menorah at the Ice on the Landing rink. The Menorah, standing seven feet tall, will be constructed entirely of ice blocks. On Dec. 10, Chabad of Chattanooga, an organization dedicated to spreading Jewish awareness and education, will host this unique candle lighting ceremony to promote ... (click for more)

Journey Educational Services To Hold Fundraising Banquet

Journey Educational Services, Inc. will celebrate three months of service with its first Champions of Uniqueness Fundraising Banquet, to include a grand opening ribbon cutting. It will be Tuesday, from 6-8 p.m. at Ridgeview Baptist Church, 6 N. Moore Road. The Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce will coordinate the ribbon cutting and Journey Educational Services, ... (click for more)

Shots Fired From Vehicle; Police Locate Car And Arrest 5 Youths With Guns

Chattanooga Police said shots were fired from a vehicle on Friday afternoon, then officers located the vehicle and arrested five youths with guns.   That comes after a spate of shooting violence in which two women were killed and several other people injured by bullets.   Just after 4 p.m. Friday,  officers with the Chattanooga Police Department responded ... (click for more)

City Considering Measure That Would Require City Employees To Be Tennessee Residents

The City Council is considering an ordinance that would require city employees to be residents of the state of Tennessee. The city has employees who live in North Georgia and North Alabama and that is allowed.  If the ordinance is approved by the City Council, it still would need to be okayed by a majority of city voters in an election. The measure will be considered ... (click for more)

Lung Cancer, The Deadliest Cancer In The United States

This time of year, I remember to give thanks for my faith, my family and friends and my health. Recently, I learned that lung cancer is the deadliest form of cancer in the United States; in fact, more Americans die each year from lung cancer than any other type of cancer. One in 13 men and one in 16 women will develop the disease in their lifetime. It’s important to learn about ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: We Can’t ‘Ban The Box’

I know a man who has over 20 former convicts from federal prisons who either work for him or who have retired with their dignity, pride, and self-worth restored. Better yet, I know some of them, men who have done “hard time” in prisons so wretched none of us would dare to go. So on the surface I applaud City Councilman Yusef Hakeem for seeing ways to get formerly incarcerated men ... (click for more)