Davidson County on track to set new record for fatal crashes

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – 2019 is on track to become one of the deadliest years on record for Davidson County when it comes to fatal crashes.

This time last year, there were 42 fatal crashes in Davidson County.

“We’ve seen an increase, 38 percent increase in fatal crashes,” said Lt. Michael Gilliland, who heads MNPD Traffic Section. “We’re already at 58 and they’re still four, five months effective in the year left.”

Doing the math on the Metro-Nashville Police Department’s numbers, the county could reach fatal crashes in the nineties, which would be a new record.

The highest number of fatal crashes occurred in 2011 with 75.

“We hope not – a lot of times it’s just unpredictable,” said Lt. Gilliland.

Lt. Gilliland said the main contributing factor is drivers failing to stay in their lane.

“It could be a result of impairment, failure to control your motor vehicle. Distracted driving is very prevalent right now,” he said.

Looking back to 2012, fatal crash numbers did show promise.

“2012, 2013, 2014, we saw a decrease steadily small numbers, but we were gaining ground,” said Lt. Gilliland. ” Then in 2017, we started climbing again.”

Lt. Gilliland said in trying to combat the grim trend, comes challenges you often see with growing cities.

“Enforcement is down due to the fact that call volume is rising, services that the police department are providing have increased, personnel numbers are not what we want them to be,” he said.

Metro police said the solution begins with enforcement, including focusing on high-crash areas like along Nolensville and Antioch pikes.

“We saw a 22 percent reduction in crashes in those areas,” said Lt. Gilliland.

Other tools include public outreach, education, social media, even MNPD’s Teen Driver Awareness classes.

“Sometimes it’s just good old-fashioned ‘hide and watch,’ but what has been proven effective in reducing all crashes is enforcement,” said Lt. Gilliland.

Lt. Gilliland said a failure to wear seat belts and impairment continues to be prevalent among fatal crashes.

He added, in the coming months, officers will tend to see a spike in pedestrian crashes.

That’s because days will get shorter, creating limited visibility for drivers.

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