NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Multiple lives have been claimed in traffic crashes this week, with a 28-year-old woman’s life being cut short after, for unknown reasons, her vehicle left the roadway and collided with a rock wall.
The number of fatal crashes so far this year has amounted to over 1,000 lives lost on Tennessee’s roadways, and even more people have been seriously injured in traffic incidents.
Data from the Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP) shows the numbers are trending slightly higher than in 2021, when there were 1,327 deadly crashes by the end of the year — the most within the last decade. This year’s totals are also higher than in 2022, which was just slightly under the year prior.
As of Sept. 29, traffic fatalities in the state were up about 2.6% with 1,004 lives lost, compared to 979 by the same time in 2022 and 990 in 2021. Another 3,661 people have been seriously injured in crashes this year, amounting to 4,665 fatal and serious injury crashes combined.
A majority of deadly and serious injury crashes this year have occurred in urban areas, with 454 reported in Davidson County and 649 reported in Shelby County. Of those 454 crashes in Davidson County, 87 have been fatal.
Across the state, data shows seatbelts have played a significant role in the severity of injuries. In 2,683, or nearly 58%, of fatal or serious injury crashes so far this year, the THP reported the person was not wearing a seatbelt.
Driving under the influence has also been a factor in several fatal crashes, with nearly 10% of all crashes where the driver had reportedly used drugs being deadly, and one study showing one in two DUI crashes resulted in injury or death between Aug. 1, 2022, and July 31, 2023.
While fewer pedestrians have died more than halfway into 2023, more motorcyclists have been killed in crashes so far this year than in 2022 or 2021. According to the THP, 5.72% of crashes involving motorcyclists this year have been fatal, with 166 lives lost.
The Tennessee Highway Safety Office (THSO) offers several tips for how motorists can stay safe on the roadways. All drivers are reminded to “look twice” and safely “share the road” to help keep motorcyclists safe.
Motorists should also remember to slow down, put their mobile phones away and safely secure child passengers and pets. According to the THSO, high speeds make a crash more likely to occur because it takes longer to stop or slow down.
Distracted driving, whether it’s looking down at a GPS device, listening to loud music or texting, is not only illegal in some cases, but it can also be extremely dangerous simply because those activities are diverting the driver’s attention away from the road.
To find out more information about how to stay safe on Tennessee’s roadways, click here.