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Tennessee makes zero fatalities the goal for road safety

Recent declines in deaths reflect greater focus on making roads safer

The Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP) says it has made zero traffic deaths their ultimate goal as part of a program called ‘Drive to Zero,’ according to the Leaf-Chronicle. While the THP acknowledges that achieving such a goal may be impossible, they stress that taking the attitude that every fatal car accident is preventable will help improve highway safety. The program has utilized a number of innovative solutions and has already resulted in a dramatic decrease in the number of people losing their lives on the state’s roads and highways.

Traffic deaths dropping

As The Tennessean recently reported, Tennessee’s roads and highways are becoming much safer places to drive. In 2014, the state saw 967 traffic fatalities, down from 995 the year before. It was the third consecutive year that traffic fatalities dropped and represents a dramatic decrease from the 1960s and 1970s. In 1973, for example, Tennessee recorded its worst year in terms of traffic deaths, with 1,444 fatalities.

The improvement is even more impressive considering that people are driving more today than they were when fatalities were at their peak. In the 1960s, for example, when there were far fewer cars on the road, the number of deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled was about 6.79. In 2013, that rate had plummeted to 1.40.

Using technology

One of the reasons for the impressive drop has been the THP’s embrace of innovate, life-saving technologies. The agency was the first in the country to use IBM’s predictive analytics model to help reduce car accidents. The technology analyzes data from crash reports along with weather forecasts and other risk factors to predict what stretches of road or highway present the greatest risk for a collision on any given day. The technology has allowed troopers to focus on high-risk areas and thus bring down the overall number of traffic fatalities.

Despite the encouraging results of the program, however, the THP says significant challenges lie ahead. After reducing the number of deaths caused by drunk driving and lack of seat belt use, the agency is becoming alarmed by the growing role distracted driving is playing on the roads. Officials say distractions from cellphones and in-car technologies are now the number-one threat on Tennessee’s roads.

Motor vehicle accidents

While road safety is certainly improving in Tennessee, the above article is a reminder of how much work still needs to be done. Hundreds of people continue to needlessly lose their lives every year in car crashes in the state, and many of those accidents are caused by distracted or otherwise negligent drivers.

Anybody hurt by a potentially at-fault driver should contact a personal injury attorney today. Filing a claim after an accident can be a difficult and complicated process that often requires the expertise that only an experienced attorney can provide.