Software Could Help Reduce Traffic Fatalities

Posted at 7:38 AM, Oct 18, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-18 09:05:36-04

This year, more than 800 drivers have been killed on Tennessee roadways. Now, special software could help curb those numbers. 

"It presents a map, similar to like a weather map. Where you have color-coded areas you need to patrol," said Lt. Travis Plotzer, with Tennessee Highway Patrol. 

Lt. Plotzer said knowing where to put extra officers based on real-time data can keep our roadways safer. 

"It looks at the prior crash data, but it also looks at weather and if there's other events going on in the area. Where there's going to be an influx of people and account for all that," he said. 

Officers like Plotzer have been using this special software for a few years. Now, this technology is being shared with every sheriff's office in the state. 

The software can go anywhere an officer has his laptop. The data is displayed as maps and predicts the likelihood of a crash occurring at a specific place and time, even if drugs and alcohol will likely be factors.

"This is a way we can work smarter. We know when we have uncommitted patrol time, when we're not answering calls for service, or investigating crashes, or helping people when they're broke down. We know areas that would be best suited to patrol in and help prevent crashes. Sometimes the mere presence of an officer in an area can deter behavior," he said. 

Lt. Plotzer hopes sharing this technology for free will help other law enforcement officers turn these troubling trends around. 

"We're ahead of where we were last year and that's concerning. Obviously we do different initiatives, we partner with other people and other agencies and media outlets to help share the word. To get people to focus," he said.