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
 






Creative Discovery Museum Closes At 3 P.M. Saturday

Creative Discovery Museum will be closing the doors at 3 p.m. on Saturday in order to get ready for AmuseUm, the party for grownups that benefits kids.  We'll open the doors again at 10 a.m. on Sunday for AmuseUm: Kids Edition.  During this day, guests, including members, will “pay what they wish” as a donation to the Museum.  There will be all of the high-tech ... (click for more)

Weekly Road Construction Report

Here is the weekly road construction report for Hamilton County: South Crest Road Bridge repair project over I-24 (between MM 182.3 – 182.4) and East Main Street:  Work on this major bridge repair project on the South Crest Road Bridge over I-24 and East Main Street in Chattanooga continues. During the project, the bridge itself is closed, as well as the section of East ... (click for more)

East Ridge Council Rejects Bids For Road Work For Bass Pro Shop Development; All Are Above $3 Million

The Bass Pro Shop development at East Ridge has hit another snag as all bids for road projects at Exit 1 and Camp Jordan Parkway came in above the $3 million estimate.   On Thursday night, Mayor Brent Lambert said the city had pledged to build a “fairly vanilla road,” and made a motion to reject all the bids. He said that the street should be “value engineered” because ... (click for more)

Life Care Asks Judge Not To Make Its Leader, Forrest Preston, A Defendant In "False Claims" Action

Attorneys for Life Care Centers of America are asking in a 20-page motion that its founder and still leader, Forrest Preston, not be made a defendant in a False Claims Act lawsuit in Federal Court. The motion says the government "seeks to change the nature and scope of this case seven years after the government began investigating the facts and documents" in the case. Judge ... (click for more)

Vote To Save Graduate Medical Education Funding

As a resident physician at UT College of Medicine Chattanooga, I know first-hand the impact Medicare financing for Graduate Medical Education has on physician education and access to care for patients in our community and communities all over the country.  GME funding provides medical school graduates the opportunity to complete the required years of clinical residency training ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Quaker Oats & Stuff

Some genius in the Quaker Oats marketing department came up with a novel idea last summer with the theme: “What if you had the chance to do something you have always wanted to do … but you had to start today?” Somehow Michael Hope and his family – that includes three children – got to be interviewed and, when his 10-year-old daughter Lauren was asked, she said she always wanted ... (click for more)