For only the third time in almost 50 years, Tennessee motor vehicle accidents resulted in less than 1000 fatalities, according to preliminary statistics from the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security. Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP) Colonel Tracy Trott said of the 2011 stats, “One life lost is one too many, but we are encouraged by last year’s fatality results and will continue to make every effort to ensure the public’s safety on Tennessee roadways.”
Memphis fatal car accident attorneys agree with Colonel Trott’s statement that even one person’s death in a motor vehicle accident is too many. But, the statistics do offer hope that Tennessee is becoming a safer place for drivers and passengers traveling our interstates and highways.
In 2011, Tennessee State Troopers investigated 10,000 crashes involving injury and 1,090 crashes involving impaired drivers. Both the number of injury wrecks and the number of impaired-driving crashes were lower than 2010 statistics. THP investigated almost 30,000 total crashes in 2011.
Overall, fatalities from motor vehicle accidents on Tennessee roadways have declined by almost a quarter since 2006. Fatal truck accidents, fatal bicycle accidents, and fatal motorcycle accidents have gone down by at least 19 percent since 2006.
One reason credited for the decline in fatal Tennessee traffic accidents was the increased enforcement and public education related to driving under the influence (DUI). Arrests for impaired driving rose by almost 40 percent in 2011, while at the same time, fatal drunk-driving accidents declined.
There is still room for improvement, however. Seat belt use remains a common factor in fatal car accidents. In 2011, over half of those killed in a motor vehicle accident was not wearing a seat belt.