Car accidents are a real and ever-present danger on Tennessee roadways. They exact a heavy toll in terms of pain, heartbreak and financial damages each day. Thousands die each year as the result of automobile accidents, and millions more suffer serious injuries.
While public service campaigns aim at raising awareness of the causes and contributing factors in car crashes and collisions, local and state law enforcement agencies do their best to prevent and deter drivers whose behavior endangers themselves and others on the road.
Tennessee has a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to violations of traffic laws. Their efforts are making a difference.
Deaths due to auto accidents in the state are at an all-time low, a Tennessee Highway Patrol official recently told a Nashville TV station. According to the official, through August, traffic fatalities in our state had dropped from 583 to 533.
So far, there have been 533 fatalities this year on Tennessee highways. In 2014, there had been 583 traffic deaths at this point.
The official gave credit to Tennessee law enforcement officers and their proactive stance towards solving the problem of traffic accidents on our state and local roads.
Although national averages continue to climb, Tennessee seems to be heading in the opposite direction when it comes to traffic accident deaths. That is very good news, indeed.
TENNESSEE TRAFFIC DEATHS ON THE DECLINE
Recent news reports indicate that the number of fatal car crashes occurring in 2015 may set a new record low in terms of traffic fatalities. In WSMV TV’s report on this trend, the station reported that year-to-date totals for car accidents through August were below the mark recorded in prior years. In fact, the totals represented a 50-year low in terms of accident-related deaths.
Hailed as an unprecedented low, the decrease in driver fatalities is credited in part to advances in technology that allow officers to predict areas at risk for potential accidents before they happen. Crash prediction technology allows officers to isolate areas that have a history of serious crash-related injuries and fatalities and to deploy officers to those areas.
The officers can be on the watch for behaviors which often contribute to serious auto accidents. According to the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security, state traffic laws that officers are on the lookout for include:
- Texting while driving – Under Tennessee Code Section 55-8-199, using a cell phone to text while driving is illegal in our state.
- Speeding in construction zones – Under Section 55-8-153, drivers face a minimum $250 fine for going over the speed limit in areas under construction or where road work is in progress.
- Driving under the influence – Under Sections 55-10-401 and 55-10-403, drivers face heavy fines, jail time and license suspension for having a breath or blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent or greater
- Open container law – Tennessee Code section 55-10-416 prohibits drivers or their passengers from drinking alcohol or having open alcoholic beverages in their vehicles while on the road.
In addition to the above, law enforcement officers watch for violations of the state seat belt and child restraint laws. Drivers and passengers who do not use their seat belts and fail to place their children in approved child safety seats stand a greater chance of suffering severe and potentially fatal injuries in the event of a car accident.
NATIONAL CAR ACCIDENT RATES SHOW OVERALL INCREASE
While the rates of Tennessee car accident fatalities have shown a dramatic decrease, the incidence of deaths due to accident-related injuries on a national level continues to increase.
According to an August Newsweek report on traffic fatalities, the overall national rates for car accident injuries and deaths are the highest they have been since 2007.
Citing statistics from the National Safety Council (NSC), the report states that more than two million serious car accident injuries had been recorded in the first six months of 2015, or an increase of 30 percent from the same period in 2014.
In this same six-month period, car accidents claimed nearly 19,000 lives, or a 14 percent increase from last year’s total. While the report attributes increases in road fatalities in part to an increase of drivers due to low gas prices, it also points to a number of dangerous driving behaviors that continue to a be a factor in accidents.
FACTORS THAT INCREASE YOUR RISK OF BEING INJURED IN A CAR ACCIDENT
At a state level in Tennessee, the incidence of car accidents resulting in fatal or serious injuries has gone down. Still, it is important to understand the types of unsafe driving behaviors that contribute to these accidents.
The NSC reports that more than 100 people each day are killed as the result of car crashes and collisions, and more than 1,000 people suffer some form of injury in these accidents.
Many of these accidents can be prevented by avoiding the following dangerous driving behaviors:
- Distracted driving such as using cell phones or texting
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Speeding and reckless driving
- Aggressive driving such as tailgating
- Driving while fatigued or on medication that may make you drowsy.
By making the right choices in terms of driving behavior and encouraging your friends and family to do the same, you can help to make the roads safer for yourself as well as other drivers.
If you or a loved one has suffered injuries as the result of a car accident, you should contact an experienced car accident attorney without delay.
At the Law Office of David E. Gordon, we understand the devastating impact these types of injuries can have on every aspect of your life.
Our law firm strives to provide the aggressive legal representation necessary to help you. We put our experience and knowledge to work for you to pursue the best possible results.
Before speaking with an insurance company, call our Memphis office today or reach us online for a free consultation.