NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Out of Control. That’s the title of a new report that suggests Tennessee and many other states need new laws to stop the recent surge of traffic deaths.
The increasing number of traffic deaths across the country, including Tennessee, is incredibly alarming. That’s the message from the “Safe Roads” advocacy group.
The report is a 2022 Roadmap of State Highway Safety Laws from the “Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety.”
Below is data from the report specific to Tennessee:
- 2019 Fatalities: 1,135
- 10-Year Fatality Total: 10,140
- Annual Economic Cost Due to Motor Vehicle Crashes: $6.841 Billion
Data shows a nearly 20% increase in traffic crashes in the first six months of 2021 when compared to the same time period in 2020. That’s according to Allison Kennedy, the Director of Government Relations for “Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety.”
The report also shows a skyrocketing number of fatalities and people driving more recklessly. For example, speeding, impairment, and people not wearing seatbelts.
On Tennessee’s roadways, the report shows more than 10,000 people have died in the last 10 years.
“For instance, in Tennessee, specifically, you need a primary enforcement seatbelt law for passengers who are riding in the rear seat,” Kennedy said. “This is really key because not only are passengers in the rear seat a danger to themselves if they’re unbuckled. Right, they can get severely injured or even killed in a crash but also, they could be a danger to all of those in the vehicle with them if a crash occurs, and they’re unbelted. So some of these fundamental safety protections, like just putting on a seatbelt every passenger every time are really important.”
Kennedy wants to stress behind the figures are real people. Your behaviors on the road matter for yourself and others.
“It’s really important that we don’t let these numbers get lost,” she said. “That we, we remember that each one has a face behind them. That’s why we’re committed to improving safety on our roadways, because we really want to make that a thing of the past where families are torn apart or, you know, lives are destroyed debilitating injuries that are born because of crashes. Our hope is to show that while these fatalities continue to persist, we do have solutions and we should be acting on them now.”
The report calls for a number of new laws including:
- Primary Enforcement Seat Belt Law (Rear)
- Rear Facing Through Age 2 Law
- Booster Seat Law
- GDL – Minimum Age 16 for Learner’s Permit
- GDL – Stronger Nighttime Restriction
- GDL – Age 18 for Unrestricted License
- Open Container Law
Not only is the group pushing for more laws, they’re proposing improved vehicle safety technologies.
“For example, automatic emergency braking is a technology that could address a myriad of crash causes it could mitigate or prevent crashes from happening, those that could be caused by speeding or distraction impairment fatigue,” Kennedy said. “So, we think that the laws rated in the roadmap report coupled with some of this technology that we have seen to be demonstrated to be effective is really going to be the key to making meaningful and lasting reductions on our roads.
For more information about “Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety” and the report, click here.