Driving under the influence, driving while tired, and just plain bad decision making while behind the wheel, are all common causes of fatal motor vehicle accidents in Tennessee. In an effort to try and prevent these fatal accidents, authorities in the state put up signs along certain roadways to display the number of traffic deaths that had occurred so far for the year. The hope was that this reminder would be enough of a wake-up call for drivers to start exhibiting safer driving behaviors.
The Tennessee Department of Transportation started displaying the traffic fatalities on these Dynamic Message Signs in April. This was in direct response to a sharp increase in motor vehicle fatalities that was seen across the state for the first quarter of 2012. The number of traffic fatalities was displayed on these signs on a daily basis.
Since the signs went up, authorities believe these daily reminders to motorists may have helped to stop the increase first seen in the beginning of the year. Some motorists have even come out in favor of the signs, claiming the daily reminder really changed their driving behaviors and attitudes.
Now, going forward in 2013, the overhead signs will stay up, only this time the fatality numbers will only be displayed once a week.
In addition to the fatality numbers continuing to be shown in 2013, the Tennessee Department of Transportation also plans on sending out messages to motorists related to some of those particularly dangerous driving behaviors, like drowsy driving, texting while driving and drunk driving.