For only the fourth time in 50 years, fewer than 1000 people died on Tennessee roads in a year's time.
The Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security said 988 people were killed in vehicle crashes in the state in 2013. That's a 2.7% drop from last year, when there were 1,015 traffic fatalities.
In 2011, there were 937 traffic-related deaths, the lowest number since 1963.
"The decline in the number of traffic fatalities in 2013 indicates that Tennessee is moving in the right direction. Our focus on data driven deployment of state troopers to have the maximum impact on DUI and seat belt enforcement is paying off. We have much more work to do, though," Commissioner Bill Gibbons said.
With an increase in DUI arrests, the number of drunk driving deaths decreased. In 2013, 211 people died in alcohol related crashes, a 26.7% decrease from the last three years. The number of DUI arrests made by state troopers increased by 90% over 2010.
Additionally, Tennessee state troopers issued 74,277 seat belt and child restraint device citations in 2013, a 135.1 percent increase from the 31,599 citations issued in 2010. In Tennessee, unrestrained motorists accounted for 48.9 percent (364) of vehicle occupants killed in 2013.
Other contributing factors in fatal crashes included speed and distracted driving, with 184 and 167 deaths, respectively.
Of concern is the fact that pedestrian fatalities have increased by 25 percent over the past year from 68 in 2012 to 85 in 2013.
"In 2014, we will employ a predictive analytics model (C.R.A.S.H.) to look even more closely at where traffic crashes are most likely to occur and deploy our resources, both in educational efforts and enforcement. We hope that this new tool will help reduce serious injury and fatal crashes across the state," Colonel Tracy Trott said.
Preliminary statistics indicate one person has died on Tennessee roadways in 2014, compared to eight at this time last year.
THP Statewide Performance Measures
All Crashes Investigated
Injury Crashes Investigated
Alcohol Impaired Crashes (THP Only)
Seat Belt/CRD Citations