Tennessee Traffic Fatalities Increased in 2010

Posted By Kinnard, Clayton & Beveridge || Feb 3, 2011

After declining for three years, fatal traffic fatalities in Tennessee increased in 2010. Although the final numbers are still being tallied, the Associated Press reported that over 1,000 died in Tennessee motor vehicle accidents last year.

The numbers were not uniform across the state. The Memphis District of the highway patrol reported a decrease of 26 fatalities last year compared to a year ago. But the numbers in rural areas were up significantly.

Rural areas tend to have higher fatalities rates for several reasons. Seat belt usage rates are generally not as high there as in urban areas. But the roads in rural areas also often tend to be more dangerous. There are multiple reasons for this, ranging from poorly designed and maintained local roads to the prevalence of large trucks on Tennessee's interstates.

Truck accidents on Interstates 75, 65 and 24, for example, remain a major problem.

At the federal level, there are important initiatives underway seeking to improve safety. For example, the U.S. Department of Transportation is working on a major project designed to reduce truck accidents. It is known by the initials CSA, for Compliance, Safety and Accountability. Aspects of the program include improved data collection and the ability for regulators to act more proactively those who violate safety standards.

Reducing distracted driving has also been a significant federal focus, particularly for transportation secretary Ray LaHood. Much more needs to be done, however, to reduce the number of fatal crashes in Tennessee and around the country.

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