The Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security announced the preliminary number of four traffic fatalities statewide during the 2014 Thanksgiving Holiday period, which began on midnight Wednesday, November 26 and ended at 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, November 30.
If this year's preliminary figures remain, it would mark the lowest number of vehicular deaths during the Thanksgiving holiday period since the seven traffic deaths in 1983. In 2013, there were 12 vehicular deaths during the 120-hour Thanksgiving holiday.
The department also reported that none of this year's holiday traffic fatalities occurred in alcohol-related crashes. Two of the individuals killed were not wearing seat belts.
"We are pleased with the preliminary fatality figures during this year's Thanksgiving day period. We credit the state troopers and local law enforcement agencies who worked together to help ensure safe holiday travels throughout Tennessee," Commissioner Bill Gibbons said.
The Tennessee Highway Patrol also revealed that there were zero traffic fatalities on Interstate 40 during the "I-40 Challenge" over the Thanksgiving period. The challenge was held on the busiest travel days of the holiday, specifically from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Wednesday, November 26 and 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Sunday, November 30.
Tennessee state troopers investigated a total of 78 crashes (one alcohol-related), arrested six individuals on suspicion of impaired driving and issued 238 seat belt citations on I-40 during the two-day challenge periods. They also inspected 215 commercial vehicles in that time frame, placing 16 drivers and nine vehicles out of service, respectively
"This was another successful year for the I-40 challenge. Our state troopers worked hard to keep Tennessee highways safe during one of the busiest travel periods of the year, and can take pride in the fact there were zero traffic fatalities on I-40 during their watch," Colonel Trott said.
Law enforcement officials from the Arizona Department of Public Safety, New Mexico State Police, Texas Department of Public Safety, Oklahoma Highway Patrol, Arkansas State Police, California Highway Patrol and North Carolina Highway Patrol also participated in the I-40 challenge.
The I-40 Challenge was part of the THP's "Drive to Zero Fatalities" campaign.
A preliminary statistical report of the 2014 Thanksgiving Holiday period accompanies this release. Please note these figures include all vehicular fatalities in Tennessee reported by law enforcement agencies across the state.
The Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security's (www.TN.Gov/safety) mission is to serve, secure, and protect the people of Tennessee.