Nashville, TN – In an effort to save lives, the Governor’s Highway Safety Office (GHSO) is again working across the state to crack down on traffic safety violations including impaired driving, seat belt use, distracted driving, and speeding, during its “More Cops. More Stops.” campaign this April.
Tennessee is one of two states teaming with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) on this important national demonstration project to test the effectiveness of a new combined high visibility enforcement campaign.
State and local law enforcement will be out in force to remind all drivers and passengers to never drink and drive, always buckle up, obey the speed limit, and eliminate all distractions inside their vehicles while driving.
“We are going to strongly enforce the most basic and important highway safety laws in Tennessee,” said Tennessee Department of Transportation Commissioner John Schroer. “Our goal is to reduce drunk driving, boost seat belt use, and crack down on speeding and distracted driving, particularly among young adult males.”
Research and fatal crash statistics show that young adult males, ages 18-34, are the most likely to practice high-risk behaviors while driving, such as drinking and driving and NOT wearing seat belts.
“We know that wearing seatbelts is the single most effective way to protect people in vehicle crashes, so we will be watching closely to make sure everyone is buckling up,” said Kendell Poole, Director of GHSO. “But we are also working to prevent crashes in the first place, so we’ll be looking for drivers in Tennessee who are engaging in risky behaviors on our roadways like drinking and driving, texting while driving or speeding.”
More than 1,000 passenger vehicle occupants were killed in Tennessee motor vehicle traffic crashes in 2010, 58 percent of whom were NOT wearing their seat belts at the time of the crash. Because nighttime passenger vehicle occupants are among those least likely to buckle up, and most likely to die in crashes when unrestrained, nighttime enforcement has become a growing priority.
Impaired driving, distracted driving and speeding claim too many lives each year. In fact, in 2010:
- 27% of those killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes on Tennessee’s highways involved drivers or motorcycle operators with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or above at the time of the deadly crash
- 22% of Tennessee’s highway fatalities were from speeding-related crashes
- In 2010, data show 18-to 34-year-old motorists are particularly at risk. Of those in that age group who were killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes in Tennessee, 33% were involved in a speeding-related crash; 35% were involved in an alcohol impaired driving crash; and 62% of 18-to 34-year-old passenger vehicle occupants killed were NOT wearing their seat belts.
Nationally in 2010, distracted driving claimed nearly 3,100 lives and led to an estimated more than 419,000 injuries.
“We know that high visibility enforcement like the More Cops. More Stops. campaign works, and if we can save even one life or change one person’s behavior, we have been successful,” said Tennessee Highway Patrol, Colonel Tracy Trott . “So Tennesseans, please remember to never drive impaired, always buckle up, obey the speed limits, and pay attention to the road. We will be out in force, and there will be no warnings or excuses. If you are caught breaking the law, you will be stopped and ticketed or arrested.”