The Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security announced the number of traffic fatalities in 2015 is the third lowest annual figure in Tennessee since 1963. The 2015 traffic fatality numbers are reported by all Tennessee law enforcement agencies to the Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP).
Preliminary figures indicate there were 965 vehicular deaths on Tennessee roadways in 2015. In 1963, there were 941 deaths. The 2015 fatality number includes 112 pedestrians and 10 pedal cyclists.
From 1964 to 2010, Tennessee averaged 1,234 deaths on roadways. Over the 46 year period, 1973 was the most tragic year, totaling 1,444 traffic deaths. From 2011 to 2015 under Governor Bill Haslam's administration, the five year annual traffic fatality average has been 971, with those five years making up five of the six lowest years since 1963.
Nationwide preliminary figures indicate an increase of about 15 percent in 2015 compared to 2014.
"We are making great strides in reducing traffic fatalities with our data driven enforcement initiatives, public awareness efforts, and special programs," Safety Commissioner Bill Gibbons said. "Our top goal continues to be the reduction of traffic fatalities. We are committed to enforcing our traffic laws and saving lives."
THP Colonel Tracy Trott said state troopers' commitment to enforcing DUI, seat belt, and distracted driving traffic laws is producing results. State troopers arrested 7,805 individuals on suspicion of DUI in 2015 and cited 114,047 individuals for not wearing their seat belts. Subsequently, there was a 20.9 percent drop in alcohol-related traffic fatalities in 2015 in Tennessee and a 3 percent drop in the percent of fatalities involving unrestrained motorists compared to 2014.
"Our focus and commitment to traffic enforcement and citicens' safety are making a difference in Tennessee," Trott said. "We are making great progress in reducing fatal incidents on Tennessee roadways, but we know there is more work needing to be done, and we are even more committed to citizens' safety than ever before. We encourage Tennesseans to make safe choices. Buckle up, don't drive impaired and don't text while driving because we care."