Fatal Car Crashes in Tennessee
Statistics released in August 2016 showed that 35,092 traffic fatalities occurred in the U.S. in 2015 –a 7.2 percent increase from 2014. That’s the largest year-to-year increase in traffic fatalities in nearly 50 years.
The main reason for this sharp spike in car accident deaths is that more people were driving in 2015. Lower gas prices and job growth also contributed to more people driving for pleasure and to more young people driving, according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. Unfortunately, all of the extra drivers on the road aren’t necessarily thoughtful or responsible when driving.
If you’ve lost a loved one in a fatal car accident and believe someone else is to blame, you may be entitled to compensation for your associated costs and emotional suffering, and for the long-term earning potential of your deceased family member. John R. Colvin has decades of experience helping Tennessee families get the settlements they deserve in fatal vehicle accident cases.
If you need help, call our office today to ask for your free consultation: 1-931-962-1044.
Fatal Car Crashes in Tennessee
In 2013, Tennessee had the 10th highest rate of United States traffic fatalities, at 15.3 per 100,000 people. That rate dropped to 14.7 fatalities per 100,000 people in 2014, but that number was still higher than the national average.
Following are some of the factors that may play a role in Tennessee car accident deaths:
- Higher speed limits. Of all crash types nationwide – single-vehicle, two-vehicle, and multi-vehicle – most fatal crashes happen on state highways, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. U.S. highways are the second most common sites of multi-vehicle crashes, and county roads are the second most common sites of two-vehicle crashes. States with higher speed limits for these road types tend to have higher fatal crash rates.
Tennessee has speed limits of 70 mph on rural and urban interstates, and on other limited access roads. Vermont, which has a crash fatality rate of 7.0 per 100,000 (less than half that of Tennessee), has speed limits of 50 to 65 mph.
- Intoxicated drivers. Between 2003 and 2012, DUI fatality rates were higher in Tennessee (4.6 per 100,000) than the national average (3.3 per 100,000). In that time, 3,423 people died in Tennessee alcohol-related crashes.
- Drugged drivers. Tennessee drivers under the influence of drugs are now a bigger danger than drivers under the influence of alcohol. From 2010 to 2015, fatal crashes in the state involving drug-impaired drivers increased 89 percent. Abuse of prescription painkillers and anxiety medicines is a growing problem in Tennessee, and one that’s contributed to a rise in drug-involved crashes.
- Fatigue. Many large commercial vehicles pass through Tennessee, and fatigue is known to be a problem in the trucking industry. Fatigue was cited as a factor in a deadly multi-vehicle crash on Interstate 75 in 2015 and an eight-vehicle crash in 2016.
- Distraction. Distracted driving is a known risk factor for vehicle accidents. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that every day in the United States, eight people die in traffic crashes involving a distracted driver. That’s why many states have strengthened laws regarding the use of cellphones and smartphones while driving. Tennessee does ban all cellphone use for bus drivers and new drivers and bans texting for drivers of all ages, but it does not ban the use of hands-free or handheld cellphones for the general population.
The Good News
According to the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security, the state’s roads are much safer today than decades ago. Tennesseans are driving more vehicles, and more miles, than ever before, but have an accident rate eight times lower than in 1950. Automobiles have more safety features today to protect occupants in a crash, and roadway improvements have minimized infrastructure-related risks.
That’s the good news. Sadly, reckless and irresponsible drivers continue to be a threat to their own passengers and to other motorists. If drivers refrained from speeding, drowsy driving, distracted driving, and driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol, most fatal crashes could be avoided.
Fatal Car Crash Lawyer in Tennessee
If a traffic crash has claimed the life of a loved one, you need an car accident attorney on your side. Call us today at 1-931-962-1044, or use our online contact form, to request your free consultation.