Deaths from car and truck accidents in Tennessee have increased in the first three months of 2012, an unusual result given the general decline in accidents, injuries and deaths in the past few years.
238 people lost their lives on Tennessee highways in the first three months of 2012. In the same period last year, only 186 deaths were reported. The 52 additional deaths represents about a 30 percent increase.
The increase in the number of deaths is largely from automobile accidents. Death rates for accidents involving trucks are down slightly. Pedestrian deaths are also down from the same period in 2011.
What is causing the increase? It certainly cannot be weather-related – we have had the mildest winter I can remember. And one would think that high gasoline prices would have reduced the amount of time people are spending on the road, thus decreasing the risk of an accident.
I have no explanation for what is happening, and hopefully the last three months are just an unfortunate circumstance and not the beginning of some sort of trend. A combination of safer autos, safer roads, seat belt usage, and enforcement of drunk driving laws has increased highway safety over the last thirty years and we need to get back to a downward-trend of accidents, injuries and deaths.