A recent report on traffic fatality statistics from the Tennessee Department of Safety shows that while distracted and impaired driving has decreased since 2007, plenty of work still remains to be done. The figures from the report suggest that teenagers in particular may need to be educated on the risks of driving while distracted, including talking on the phone and texting while driving. Further, more sobriety checkpoints may need to be implemented to further prevent drunk driving. Both initiatives would likely help reduce fatal and serious car accidents in Tennessee.
KEY FINDINGS OF THE TRAFFIC FATALITIES STATISTICS REPORT
The Tennessee traffic fatality figures showed an increase in all vehicular fatalities between 2011 and 2012. However, 2012 still represented the third lowest annual incidence of traffic deaths since 1963. The 2012 figures also show a nearly 24 percent decrease in fatalities since 2004, showcasing a significant downward trend in recent years. However, according to Safety Commissioner Bill Gibbons, the state still has plenty of work to do.
In particular, state officials pointed out that impaired driving statistics still remained distressingly high. In 2012, 246 people were killed in crashes involving alcohol impairment. However, this number represents a nearly 30 percent decrease in the past five years, showing that recent efforts to combat drunk driving have succeeded. The report notes that Tennessee State Troopers had made about 25 percent more DUI arrests than they did in 2011.
TENNESSEE’S PLANS FOR IMPROVING SAFETY
A colonel with the Tennessee Highway Patrol remarked that efforts to reduce drinking and driving will only increase going forward. Sobriety checkpoints and “no refusal” enforcement campaigns will be implemented to combat impaired driving and help prevent traffic fatalities. In addition, more than half of all Tennessee traffic fatalities in 2012 involved drivers who were not wearing their seat belts. With this in mind, Highway Patrol officers will ramp up checks for seat belts as well as those for drunk or distracted driving.
In remarks about the 2012 traffic statistics, the director of the Governor’s Highway Safety Office said that distracted driving was the primary killer of teenage drivers. Driving while talking or texting falls under this category. In Tennessee, teenage traffic fatalities went up by 10 percent between 2011 and 2012. To combat this rise, officials plan on improving responsible driving education efforts in schools and through general outreach.
SEEKING JUSTICE AFTER AN ACCIDENT
When fatal accidents occur, it is important for victims’ families to understand they have rights. If the death was caused by another person’s negligence, Tennessee law allows the victim’s survivors to bring a lawsuit for wrongful death. Wrongful death lawsuits allow the family to pursue compensation for losses including medical care, loss of the victim’s income and loss of the victim’s care and companionship.
If your loved one has been killed in a traffic accident, a Tennessee personal injury attorney can evaluate your case and help you determine the best options for moving forward.