To understand the breadth of the current problem, let’s first look at 2020. Despite fewer people being on the road due to the pandemic, 2020 saw an 8% increase in motor vehicle accidents (car, truck, motorcycles and buses). That 8% increase was the highest year-to-year jump in 96 years. But, it gets worse. In Tennessee, fatal accidents are up by an astonishing 21.5% for the first quarter of 2021. 356 fatal accidents have occurred on Tennessee roadways so far this year. At this time last year, there were only 209 according to the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security. For more information on where these wrecks are happening and what age groups and types of vehicles are most involved, read on.
First, teen drivers and senior drivers have both seen increases since 2020. For young drivers, inexperience and distraction are often the culprit. With seniors, a decrease in reaction times, vision, etc. is typically the cause. Second, while bus accident numbers are holding steady and large truck (10,000 lbs or more) have decreased slightly, motorcycle accidents have increased. For fatal accidents, 209 of them were in urban areas and the remaining 147 were in the rural portions of our state.
Two important safety campaigns are currently underway for the month of April in hopes of combatting the rising accident numbers. First, The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the National Safety Council have declared April as Distracted Driving Awareness Month and have launched public service campaigns related to distracted driving. And, the Tennessee Highway Safety Office has launched Slow Down Tennessee. The speed prevention campaign runs through the end of the month and will focus on both education and enforcement. Law enforcement plans to increase high-visibility enforcement and saturation patrols along with other tactics to try and prevent speeding. A recent study by both AAA and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found that increased speeds of just 5 to 10 mph can negatively impact an occupant’s survival space and proportionally increase the likelihood of injury or fatality.
Every single day, our award-winning lawyers see the devastating effects of car, truck, motorcycle and bus accidents, and these 2021 statistics are startling. The same advice we have all been given for decades is still the most effective in preventing motor vehicle accidents:
- Slow down.
- Don’t drive if you are impaired by either drugs or alcohol.
- Give driving your full time and attention – avoid distractions.
- Wear your seatbelt and make sure children are properly restrained.
- Keep your vehicle, especially lights, brakes and tires, in good condition.
- Do not drive drowsy.
- Adjust your driving, as necessary, according to weather and road conditions.
- Be a defensive driver and avoid aggressive maneuvers.
- Protect yourself against uninsured and underinsured drivers with UM/UIM coverage.
If you or a loved one has been involved in a serious accident and you have questions, give us a call. It is completely free and without obligation. We will review your accident and let you know if we think you have a case. If we think you need a lawyer and you want to hire us, we will handle your case on a contingency basis, which means we only get paid if we recover money for you. For more information, we encourage you to review the following: