Traffic fatalities are on the rise across the nation, and Tennessee is among the states seeing especially high jumps. Studies show that Tennessee is one of eight states that saw its traffic deaths increase by at least 30% since the first half of 2021, raising questions about what transportation officials might do to help protect citizens traveling state roadways.

According to CBS News, Tennessee’s traffic fatalities increased by 30% between the first half of 2020 and 2021, with 682 traffic deaths taking place within this span.

National statistics

On the national level, there were 21,450 road deaths that occurred on the nation’s roads between the first half of 2020 and 2021. This is a notable increase over both of the two years prior. During the first half of 2020, there were 18,480 traffic deaths nationwide. In 2019, there were 18,384 such deaths that took place from coast to coast.

Contributing factors

Many of the factors contributing to rising traffic fatality rates may come as no surprise. Driver distraction is a major contributing factor, and it often involves motorists texting and driving or using handheld phones while driving, regardless of state laws. Reckless driving, aggressive driving and drowsy driving are also common factors in fatal car wrecks. So, too, are alcohol abuse, road rage and speed.

Some fatal car wrecks happen because of inclement weather, such as rain or ice storms. Others have no identifiable cause at all. In some cases, this may be because motorists are hesitant to admit to law enforcement that they were using their phones or otherwise exercising negligence before their crashes occurred.