Preliminary figures from the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security show 13 people were killed in traffic crashes on Tennessee roadways during this year’s 96-hour Memorial Day holiday period. This is a drop from the 19 fatalities that occurred during the 2011 Memorial Day holiday weekend.
The 2012 Memorial Day holiday period ran from midnight, Friday, May 25 through 11:59 p.m., Monday, May 28. During that time, there were 10 fatal crashes that resulted in 13 fatalities. Six crashes were single vehicle wrecks, while four of them were multiple car crashes. Ten of the people killed were vehicle occupants, and three were motorcyclists. Five of the 10 vehicle occupants killed were not wearing safety restraints.
In 1973, 26 people were killed in traffic crashes in Tennessee during the 78-hour Memorial Day holiday period, the highest number of deaths on record. The lowest number of deaths occurred when five people were killed in traffic crashes during the 2002 Memorial Day 78-hour period.
During this year’s Memorial Day enforcement period, the THP made 94 impaired driving arrests statewide. They also issued 1,139 seat belt and child restraint device citations, 1,500 speeding and 511 registration violations.
As of May 31, there have been 397 people killed on Tennessee roadways, 26 more fatalities compared to this same time last year. The past two months have shown a decrease in vehicular deaths compared to the same months in 2011, with 21 and 10 fewer fatalities in April and May, respectively.
“One traffic fatality is one too many,” THP Col. Tracy Trott said. “However, the reduction in traffic-related deaths the last two months is an encouraging sign that our highway safety enforcement, along with our partnerships with local law enforcement agencies and highway safety advocates, is making a difference.”
The Tennessee Highway Patrol conducted driver's license and sobriety checkpoints throughout the state during this past holiday weekend and will continue its participation in the high-visibility national Click It or Ticket Campaign through June 3.
State troopers will also team up with local law enforcement to conduct traffic safety enforcement campaigns on interstates and highways. The THP Nashville District has organized a multijurisdictional DUI enforcement blitz on Friday, June 1, beginning at 9 p.m. on that night and ending at 2 a.m., Saturday, June 2.
THP officials said that the traffic fatality count may rise because of delays in reporting and classification of traffic fatalities.