TN On Track To Break Death Records On Highways

Posted at 5:26 PM, Jun 01, 2016

A total of 43 motorcyclists have been killed while on the road during 2016, and officials said when it comes to fatal vehicle crashes, the state was on pace to have more than last year.

Phillip Conner and his family were in the middle of a motorcycle road trip which spans a few states, but danger was lurking at every mile.

"I don't like riding behind big trucks either so I try to stay away from them," said Conner.

Among his top concerns were distracted drivers. "It does make me nervous," he said.

It was for good reason, officials said with school out, a lot more young drivers are on the road.

"There tends to be more distractions taking place inside the vehicle," Tennessee Highway Patrol Lt. Bill Miller said. 

As of June Tennessee was on pace to break records, but not the good kind.

"We're seeing a trend that's going in the wrong direction. We're seeing a trend that's causing fatalities to increase instead of decrease," Miller said.

"This year we're on pace to have more than 1400 fatalities and that's totally unacceptable."

In 2016, 43 motorcyclists have been killed while on the road. In all, the number of fatalities is nearing 393, 42 more than the same time last year.

To help combat those numbers, officers have begun enforcing the due care law, which will cite drivers who are distracted.

"It encompasses so much more in your vehicle other than just using electronics," said Miller.

A driver who is found guilty of texting and driving faces a misdemeanor violation.

"That's really not enough, that's really not a stiff enough penalty for that," Miller added. "100 Days of Summer Heat." It is a fitting name for a campaign to keep drivers safe while on the roads. Keep that in mind the next time you're behind the wheel, bikers like Conner will thank you.

"Just be vigilant, keep your eyes open, keep your ears open, keep your music to at least where you can concentrate on whatever is going," said Conner.

Citizens can report a reckless driver to the Tennessee Highway Patrol by calling *847.