Two Reasons Why There Were Fewer Crash-Related Deaths on Tennessee Roadways in 2013

While the numbers are only preliminary, the Tennessee Department of Safety has released the statistics on crash fatalities for Tennessee in 2013. The news is wonderful: traffic fatalities dropped from 1015 in 2012 to 988 in 2013. That is 27 families who did not suffer the pain and turmoil of losing a family member in a car accident.

The Commissioner for the Tennessee Department of Safety believes the improvement is related to stronger enforcement of seatbelt violations and DUI laws.  State troopers issued 74,277 seat belt and child restraint citations in 2013, which is a 135.1 percent increase since 2010.    Seatbelt enforcement is critical as unbelted occupants were 48.9 percent of the fatalities in 2013. 

Similarly, Tennessee state troopers arrested 6,428 motorists for DUI in 2013, which is 90.4 per cent  increase since 2010. In 2013, preliminary numbers reveal 211 people were killed in alcohol-related crashes in Tennessee. 

Over the last 50 years, the number of crash-related deaths has only fallen below 1,000 on four occasions. So, 2013 was a good year.   But the statistics make it clear: if we want to keep saving lives then we need to buckle up and, if you are going to drink, let a taxi or a designated driver get you home. 

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