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THP Announces 14% Decline in Traffic Fatalities for 2013

Press release from the Tennessee Department of Safety & Homeland Security; July 8, 2013:

NASHVILLE — Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP) Colonel Tracy Trott today announced the preliminary number of traffic fatalities on state roadways have decreased by nearly 14 percent (13.8%) for the first six months of 2013, compared to the same time period in 2012. The THP reported 436 people died in traffic crashes in Tennessee from January 1 through June 30, 2013. That is 70 fewer than the 506 vehicular fatalities that occurred during the same dates in 2012. Please note these figures include vehicular fatalities reported by all law enforcement agencies across the state.

Colonel Trott also noted a 10.7 percent decline in alcohol-related crashes investigated by the THP. State Troopers worked 975 impaired driving accidents from January 1 through June 30, 2013, a drop from the 1,092 crashes involving alcohol the previous year during the same time frame.

“DUI enforcement has become one of our agency’s top priorities in the last few years. We have arrested 3,151 individuals on suspicion of impaired driving during the first six months of this year – a 9.8 percent increase from the 2,870 DUI arrests made the first half of 2012,” Colonel Trott said. “Each time we remove a drunk driver from our roadways, we reduce the chance of a serious injury or fatal crash occurring,” he added.

“The efforts of the Tennessee Highway Patrol is evident in the data produced on the roadways,” Department of Safety and Homeland Security Bill Commissioner said. “We are encouraged by the reduction of crashes investigated, specifically injury and alcohol-related across the state. Our hope is to continue this trend and keep the motoring public safe in Tennessee.”

THP has also placed a greater emphasis on seat belt enforcement in 2013. As of June 30, 2013, State Troopers have issued 37,191 seat belt citations in Tennessee. That’s 14,000 more seat belt citations or a 62.3 percent increase than those issued during the first six months of 2012. Colonel Trott believes the seat belt enforcement has resulted in a 31.2 percent decline in the number of unrestrained fatalities across the state.

A summary of THP’s six month performance measures are listed below. Statistics for the recent Fourth of July holiday period will be released at a later date.

THP Statewide Six-Month Performance Measures

January 1 – June 30, 2013

Performance Measure                                                 2012            2013

All Crashes Investigated                                          12,381          12,013

Injury Crashes Investigated                                     4,841            4,370

Alcohol Impaired Crashes                                        1,092              975

Traffic Fatalities                                                             506              436

DUI Arrests                                                                     2,870            3,151

Total Citations                                                          179,259        196,716

Seat Belt Citations                                                      22,911           37,191

Commercial Motor Vehicle Inspections           41,286          44,462

Categories
Press Releases

Traffic Fatalities at a 48-Year Low: Safety Department

Press Release from the Department of Safety; Jan. 12, 2012: 

NASHVILLE — Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security officials today announced preliminary figures indicating the state has recorded the fewest number of traffic fatalities in 48 years. In 2011, there were 947 traffic-related deaths on Tennessee roadways, representing the lowest figure since 1963 when 941 people were killed as a result of a crash.

Last year’s preliminary number of 947 traffic deaths marks just the third time in 48 years vehicular fatalities have dipped below 1,000. Since 2006, Tennessee traffic fatalities have declined by 26.2 percent, including a drop in fatalities involving large trucks (34.5%), pedalcyclists (28.6%), motorcyclists (19.1%) and pedestrians (4.5%).

In 2011, State Troopers arrested 4,689 impaired drivers, rising 39 percent from the previous year. Additionally, drunk driving deaths fell 31.6 percent from 2006 to 2010. On the other hand, seat belt usage still causes a major concern for law enforcement officials and highway safety advocates. While 2011 data indicates the safety belt usage rate was 87.4 percent in Tennessee, 56.3 percent of vehicle occupants killed in fatal crashes were not buckled up.

“The 2011 decline in vehicular fatalities is a credit to the hard work and dedication of the Tennessee Highway Patrol and other law enforcement agencies, as well as a successful partnership with the Governor’s Highway Safety Office,” Commissioner Bill Gibbons said. “We are deploying State Troopers on a proactive basis to maximize the impact on public safety. The dramatic increase in DUI arrests reflects that effort on our part.”

Thanks to increased public awareness campaigns, along with traffic safety and driving under the influence (DUI) enforcement, the THP investigated fewer injury and alcohol-related crashes statewide in 2011. State Troopers worked 10,000 injury wrecks and 1,090 impaired driving crashes statewide last year, representing an 8.4 percent and 25.6 percent decline, respectively, from 2010.

“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,” THP Colonel Tracy Trott said. “From the beginning, I have pushed our personnel to intensify DUI enforcement across the state. The 2011 results are in part due to the sacrifice each Tennessee State Trooper has made to save lives.”

“The Tennessee Highway Patrol, along with all of the county and municipal officers, worked hard to help us achieve this success,” Governor’s Highway Safety Office (GHSO) Director Kendell Poole said. “Throughout the year, we work with each agency to support and coordinate safety initiatives in order to increase safety belt usage, combat impaired driving and educate the public on responsible habits on the road. We will continue to support these efforts and help make a positive impact in Tennessee.”

Funding provided by the Governor’s Highway Safety Office has allowed the THP to continue providing increased enforcement and public awareness campaigns for the safety and security of state highways. Their financial support allows Troopers to work additional hours during special enforcement campaigns.

“We wouldn’t be able to perform our duties without the continued support of our state and federal highway safety partners,” Colonel Trott said. “While the decline in Tennessee traffic fatalities is a good sign, there is still more work to be done to ensure the safety of traveling motorists. We look forward to the challenge and the year ahead.”

THP Statewide Performance Measures 

Performance Measure; 2010; 2011

All Crashes Investigated; 29,154; 26,967

Injury Crashes Investigated; 10,921; 10,000

Alcohol Impaired Crashes; 1,466; 1,090

Traffic Fatalities; 1,031; 947

DUI Arrests; 3,374; 4,689

Total Citations; 303,555; 312,501

CMV Citations; 29,997; 28,373

The Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security’s mission is (www.tennessee.gov/safety) to ensure the safety and general welfare of the public. The department encompasses the Tennessee Highway Patrol, Office of Homeland Security and Driver License Services. General areas of responsibility include law enforcement, safety education, motorist services and terrorism prevention.