Number Of Tennessee Roadway Deaths Surpass 2015

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - There were more roadway deaths in Tennessee in 2016 than 2015, and officials with the Tennessee Highway Patrol hope 2017 follow suit.

THP officials haven't had to deal with the problem in 4 years: an increase in the number of roadway deaths.

In 2016, there were 1,037 deaths on Tennessee roads, 75 more than in 2015. 

That number had been declining since 2012, when there were 1,014 deaths. The 2016 number was the highest roadway death toll since 2008 when there were 1,043 lives lost.

THP said it’s still going over last year’s numbers to figure out why the 2015-16 increase occurred, especially after implementing a predictive analytics software program that Troopers said could help determine areas where crashes are likely to occur on any given day.

But the THP said there are things the crash predictor software program can't predict, like the increase in distracted drivers.

“Drivers are driving more distracted today than they ever have before,” said Lt. Bill Miller with THP.

Miller said 2016 also saw more groups of people in car crashes, all without seatbelts on.

THP said it hopes they'll be able to incorporate that data into their program in the future, but it says ultimately, drivers need to take on the responsibility for safe driving, themselves.

“Law enforcement cannot be everywhere.  There’s no way we can stop every person speeding, everyone driving recklessly, stop every person not wearing their seat belt,” Miller said.  “We need you as a driver to help us keep your family, community and state as safe as possible.”

THP said it plans on continuing to crack down on distracted drivers and people texting on their phones through the state's Failure to Exercise Due Care law.

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