Last year, the number of car crash deaths in Williamson County nearly doubled. In 2016, there were 13 car crash deaths and in 2017 it increased to 25. A fifth of all crashes in Williamson County are caused by a distracted driver. The increased number of deaths on Williamson County roadways last year could also be attributable to a decreased use in seatbelts. Last year, seatbelt usage across the entire State dropped. To combat both of these issues, Williamson County has launched two safety initiatives and one of them is especially cool.
If you are a parent, this next statistic will break your heart and strike terror in your veins: six Williamson County students died in car crashes last year. In addition to being inexperienced drivers, teen drivers are the most at risk group for distracted driving. So this semester, Williamson County implemented a high school program to combat distracted driving. The County bought 10 distracted driving systems that feature virtual reality goggles. Using the simulator, students are asked to drive down roads, stop at red lights, navigate around pedestrians and other hazards while reading and responding to texts that pop up on the screen. The program will move amongst Williamson County high schools in the hopes that student drivers will better appreciate the danger and stay off their phones while operating a vehicle. (Of course, many teens still reach for their phone even though they know the risk, so apps that disable a phone while a vehicle in motion are wonderful for limiting the temptation to reach for the phone when it dings.)
As for seatbelt use, more than 50% of occupants who die in a car crash were not wearing their seatbelt, so the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office is partnering with the Tennessee Safety Office for a seatbelt campaign that starts today and runs through August 1, 2018. This is the 5th year for the SAFE campaign (Seatbelts Are For Everyone). This year, the campaign will continue its focus on increasing seatbelt and child seat usage and will also increase enforcement for nighttime seatbelt use because more traffic fatalities occur at night. At the Law Offices of John Day, we often get calls from people that were not wearing their seatbelts during a car accident who want to know how that will affect their legal rights. Of course, we tell them how lucky they are to have survived and encourage them to always wear their seatbelt and then we give them this information about how seatbelt non-usage can affect their car accident case.
I know we say it all the time, but we are going to say it again: please wear your seatbelt and please do not drive distracted. Your life and the lives of others could depend upon it. And of course, if you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident and you would like a free consultation about your case, give us a call at 615-742-4880 (Nashville) or 615-867-9900 (Murfreesboro) or 866-812-8787 (toll-free). Our award-winning lawyers handle all accident cases on a contingency basis so we only get paid if we recover money for you.