Why Are Traffic Accidents in Tennessee Rising Again?

Nashville Attorneys Discover Some Startling Statistics

It is important for every single one of us to take responsibility for our actions when we get behind the wheel. Accidents can happen at any time, and the best way to avoid them is to stay alert on the road, be courteous and thoughtful, and maintain a defensive attitude while driving.

The Tennessee interstate highway system accounts less than 2 percent of the State’s total miles of roadway, but it is where almost 30 percent of total travel occurs. Over 6 million people live in the Volunteer State, and over 4 million of us have valid drivers’ licenses. That’s a lot of cars on the road.

In 2012, the most recent year for which data is available, 1,014 people died in traffic accidents in Tennessee. That is 1,014 too many.

Where Does Tennessee Rank for Fatal Car Accidents?

Tennessee was one of thirty-seven states which had an increase in fatalities between 2011 and 2012, going up by 8 percent, as traffic fatalities increased by over 3 percent for the country as a whole. In the previous seven years, Tennessee’s fatality rate had dropped as much as 20 percent.

The question we must ask ourselves is: what’s causing so many more traffic accidents in Tennessee?

Distracted driving is operating a vehicle while doing any activity that diverts attention away from the task of driving. These distractions endanger drivers, passengers, and every other person on or near a roadway.

One of the most insidious changes in our nation’s driving habits is the tendency of many people to look at their phones while they drive. The average time your eyes are off the road while texting is 5 seconds. If you are going 55mph, you could cover the length of a football field in that time. Texting is the most obvious distraction these days, but other distractions include:

  • Eating or drinking
  • Reading a map
  • Using a GPS device
  • Adjusting the radio

An estimated 421,000 people were injured in car accidents involving a distracted driver, a 9 percent increase from 2011.

Another major cause of traffic fatalities on Tennessee roads is drunk driving. Between 2003 and 2007, there were almost 10,000 drunk driving accidents on average, according to the Tennessee Department of Public Safety. In 2012, almost a third of all traffic fatalities (295 of 1,104, or 29 percent) were caused by or related to alcohol abuse. Research shows that two out of three people will be involved in a drunk driving accident at least once in their lifetime.

Here is a sobering thought: every drunk driving accident ever has been avoidable. If you are drinking, don’t drive. It’s just that simple.

A third, but by no means final, issue plaguing Tennessee roadways is accidents involving large trucks. A recent National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) report shows that the overall rate of fatal accidents has declined throughout the country in recent years. The number of large truck fatalities, however, has increased by almost 20 percent between 2009 and 2012. Tennessee was eleventh on the U.S. list of all fatal large truck accidents.

Trucking companies need to ensure that their drivers are following safety regulations rather than racing to beat the bottom line. A dead driver can’t deliver their payload.

If You Have Been Injured on a Tennessee Highway, a Nashville Injury Attorney Can Help

More and more, it seems that people are driving too fast, getting behind the wheel drunk, or staring at their phones while in the fast lane. Whatever the reason, too many people have already died this year, and more are sure to follow.

Police can’t be everywhere, so we need to be more defensive on the road. The one who controls what happens to you in your car is you.

If drivers will not take responsibility for their actions, perhaps it is time for Tennessee to make some significant changes. Maybe a zero-tolerance policy is what we need to make sure our roads stay safe for our citizens.

If a negligent driver injured you or a family member, you may be entitled to compensation. To learn more about your legal rights, contact an experienced Nashville injury lawyer today.

Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all who are destitute. Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy. Proverbs 31:8-9 



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