THP reports fewer traffic deaths

WBIR Web Staff

Tennessee Highway Patrol is seeing fewer deaths on roads statewide this year compared to 2013.

Updated numbers show that on December 29, 2013, fatality totals were at 986. This year, we sit at 952. That's a difference of 34 lives.

"That's what we're out here for, but we can't be complacent with that though. That's still too many lives lost," THP Lieutenant Don Boshears said.

Locally, state figures show fatalities have ticked up this year. In District 1, which consists of 11 Knoxville area counties, there have been 164 fatalities, compared with 151 in 2013. Knox County has seen a decrease of two, but Anderson County has seen seven more roadway deaths and Loudon County has seen five more deaths so far this year compared with last year, according to Department of Safety figures.

Troopers are crediting a new program 'The Drive to Zero' with the statewide decrease.

"If you break it down and think of it in terms of how many fatalities are acceptable with your relatives, zero. Or your co workers. Zero," Boshears said.

It's all based on computer analytics. It looks into who is crashing where on what days and the causes.

"We can take past crash data where fatal crashes are occurring or alcohol related crashes or things of that nature." said Boshears.

Then troopers monitor those spots.

"It's something that we probably are going to use from now on," Boshears said.

While its making an impact, troopers want those numbers even lower.

"It's really more than a number. I mean it's un-telling that the 952 that we are at right now, think of all the outreaching effect that it's had. It's 952 people who lost their lives, and three times the amount of people affected," said Boshears.

THP said in about 50 percent of the fatalities this year people weren't using their seat belts and 46 people died from a distracted driving involved crash.