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 violators including impaired drivers, seat belt violators, distracted drivers, and speeders, during its “More Cops. More Stops.” campaign this July 26-29.
“With school starting just around the corner, many people are out enjoying the last of their summer vacations,” said Tennessee Highway Patrol, Colonel Tracy Trott. “Too often, people get caught up in the fun and break traffic safety laws, putting themselves and others at risk. We believe this special enforcement push will make our roadways safer for everyone, and we hope the message stays with people year-round.”
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.
Tennessee Department of Transportation Commissioner John Schroer said the statistics are alarming, and that risky behaviors claim too many lives in Tennessee.
“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 Commissioner Schroer. “But we also know that drinking and driving, texting while driving, and speeding are contributing to an increase in fatalities. Our goal is to prevent crashes from happening in the first place.”
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. Twenty-seven percent of Tennessee’s fatalities in motor vehicle traffic crashes involved an alcohol impaired driver. Additionally, 22 percent of all people killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes on Tennessee highways involved drivers or motorcycle operators with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 (the legal limit) or above at the time of the deadly crash. Twenty-two percent died from speeding-related crashes.
“Our statistics show that young adult males, ages 18 to 34, are most likely to practice high-risk behaviors while driving, such as drinking and driving and not wearing seat belts,” said Kendell Poole, Director of the Governor’s Highway Safety Office.
Of those in that age group who were killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes in Tennessee, 35 percent were involved in an alcohol-impaired driving crash; 62 percent of 18-to 34-year-old passenger vehicle occupants killed were NOT wearing their seat belts; and 33 percent were involved in a speeding-related crash.
Distracted driving is another issue that state and local law enforcement will be on the lookout for since according to NHTSA, it claimed nearly 3,100 lives and led to an estimated 419,000 people injured nationally in 2010.
“When you look at the data, it’s clear that we have to do something to change people’s behavior on the roads,” said THP Colonel Tracy Trott. “It’s simple—don’t engage in risky behaviors that put your life and the lives of others at risk—especially drinking and driving, not wearing a seat belt, texting while driving or speeding. Remember, More Cops. More Stops. this summer. We will be watching.”