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2013 data points to decrease in Tennessee traffic fatalities

Going by preliminary data, the number of people killed in motor vehicle accidents on roadways in Tennessee last year decreased. However, while this is certainly good news, Safety Commissioner Bill Gibbons is quick to point out that more still needs to be done in order to see fewer deaths on the roads, particularly when it comes to pedestrian accidents.

According to the Department of Safety and Homeland Security, there were 988 traffic-related deaths in Tennessee for 2013. This represents a 2.7 percent decrease from 2012 when 1,015 people were killed. However, the number of deaths last year is still not as low as in 2011 when 937 people were killed.

In looking at what may have led to the decrease in 2013, Gibbons said state troopers focusing on drunk driving and seat belt use really made a difference. In fact, fatalities involving impaired driving decreased 26.7 percent from 2010 to 2013.

Again, while it is good news to see such a large percentage decrease in impaired driving fatalities, statistics point to the fact that 24.1 percent of the total deaths in 2013 were still connected to alcohol-related crashes. This means more still needs to be done in order to get the message across that drunk driving is not only illegal, but it is also extremely dangerous and can lead to fatalities.

Aside from alcohol-related fatalities, pedestrian fatalities are also of particular concern in Tennessee, especially considering the fact the number of pedestrian killed in 2013 increased by 25 percent.

The hope, of course, is that overall people will engage in safe driving behaviors in 2014. This means not only not driving drunk, but also following the speed limits, avoiding distractions while behind the wheel and keeping an eye out for pedestrians.


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