Traffic fatalities continue to rise in Tennessee

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) – The Tennessee Department of Transportation and Department of Safety and Homeland Security have teamed up on a campaign after finding a frighting trend.

“We just noticed that alarming trend that the traffic is way down but the fatalities are up and we are just trying to work together to bring some awareness to it,” TDOT Community Relations Officer Jennifer Flynn said.

Traffic volumes were down 13 percent in 2020.

That’s while statewide, fatalities were actually up 7 percent.

Flynn said that they will be running messages on their overhead signs and through social media to urge people to use caution.

“People just need to think twice when they get out there and just be sure and be safe and follow all the rules of the road,” she said. 

So far, in 2021 statewide fatalities continue to rise.

There have been over 70 fatalities.

That’s up compared to last year.

In the Tennessee Highway Patrol Chattanooga District, fatalities are down.

There have been at least 9 fatals.

“7 of those fatalities that we worked were in a 6 day period and of those 7 fatalities in 6 days, 2 of those of fatalities were double fatality crashes. That is just very unusual,” THP Lt. John Harmon.

Lt. Harmon said that they’re not sure exactly why there have been so many fatalities all over.

He encourages folks to put their distractions down, slow down and buckle up.

“In some circumstances we find where the airbags went off in the car, but the driver and the passenger didn’t have their seat belt on and was injured or killed. Those seat belts are made to work with all of the safety equipment in those cars,” he said.

Across Tennessee last year, unrestrained fatalities increased by 32 percent.

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