Most people are aware of the dangers that come with traveling on our nation’s roadways. Whether it is inclement weather, distracted driving or some other type of hazard, the risk for injury or death always exists. The good news is, there were fewer fatal accidents on Tennessee roads last year. Compared to 2012 figures, traffic deaths in 2013 fell by 2.7 percent.

Preliminary figures show that there were 988 traffic-related fatalities in our state last year, compared to 1,015 the year before. This is reportedly only the fourth time in the past 50 years that there have been fewer than 1,000 fatal accidents. However, this number is still above 2011’s figure of 937. While the lower number is a sign of improvement, state officials are worried about the 25 percent increase in pedestrian fatalities. Last year, there were 85 pedestrian deaths in Tennessee, which is considerably higher than the 68 fatalities in 2012.

The decrease in deadly accidents is likely due in part to several traffic safety initiatives being conducted by law enforcement. These include cracking down harder on drunk drivers and individuals who are not wearing seatbelts. Since 2010, DUI accidents have decreased by 26.7 percent, while arrests of intoxicated drivers have increased by 90.4 percent. In 2013, law enforcement also issued 135.1 percent more citations for seat belt and child restraint violations than they did in 2010.

Even with better traffic law enforcement, fatal accidents will always be a problem on Tennessee roadways. When an individual dies in an accident that was caused by someone else’s negligence, the loved ones of the deceased may wish to find out more about their options under our state’s personal injury laws. They may be able to pursue a claim for wrongful death, which, if successful, can provide some much-needed financial assistance and peace of mind as they try to cope with their loss.

Source: Chattanooga Times Free Press, Traffic deaths down in Tennessee, Andy Sher, Jan. 3, 2014