TN traffic fatalities declined in 2014 as Highway Patrol charged more with DUI, seat belt violations

Preliminary numbers from the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security show that traffic crashes claimed 945 lives last year in the state, 26 fewer than in 2013. That makes 2014 the third straight year for a decline in Tennessee traffic fatalities.

From The Tennessean:

Final numbers are expected early next week, said Bill Miller, Tennessee Highway Patrol spokesman. (Note: The preliminary data comparing 2013 and 2014 fatalities is HERE.)

Miller said the highway patrol’s focus on catching motorists driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol and violating seat belt and child safety restraint laws has contributed to the reduction. Troopers issued dramatically more citations for both violations in 2014 than 2010, which is when Colonel Tracy Trott took command of the highway patrol, Miller said.

As of Monday, the highway patrol made 8,333 DUI arrests in 2014, more than doubling the 3,328 DUIs in 2010, Miller said. Troopers issued 31,577 seat belt and child restraint tickets in 2010. As of Monday, that number was at 102,069 citations for 2014, Miller said.

The highway patrol is trying to create change the driving culture in the state with their enforcement efforts, Miller said.