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Tennessee Traffic Deaths Reach 13-Year High: What You Need to Know

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Our Chattanooga Car Accident Lawyers Break Down Recent Surge of Fatal Collisions

The Chattanooga Times Free Press recently reported that Tennessee traffic-related fatalities in 2019 reached their highest rate since 2007. This news may come as a shock to some, as Tennessee passed its hands-free law in 2019. Shouldn’t the numbers be going in the opposite direction?

With traffic-related fatalities at their highest in 13 years, our Chattanooga car accident lawyers strongly believe drivers in our community need to be aware of these alarming numbers and what we can do to reduce them.

Breaking Down the Numbers

By Dec. 30, 2019, 1,129 people had died in traffic-related collisions that year. This was the highest number of fatalities we’ve seen since 2007 when 1,211 people lost their lives on the roads.

What’s most concerning is that Hamilton County had the worst numbers in the 12-county Southeast Tennessee region. There were 57 traffic-related deaths in Hamilton County alone in 2019, 44 of which happened in Chattanooga.

These numbers are shocking, especially considering the fact that most car accidents are preventable. In fact, 94 percent of car accidents happen because of human error.

Distracted Driving in Tennessee

African man using his phone while driving in the rain.Distracted driving is a huge issue in our home state of Tennessee and states across the nation. In Tennessee, the number of distracted driving-related accidents increased by over 14,000 between 2007 and 2017. It is for this reason that state lawmakers issued a hands-free law.

Now, any driver caught using their phone behind the wheel in Tennessee will be issued a fine of $50. Many states are putting similar laws in place in an attempt to curb these types of accidents and fatalities. Sadly, the new hands-free law has not seemed to help lower traffic-related fatalities in our state. Accidents happen for many reasons, but distracted driving remains a leading cause of accidents despite the new hands-free law.

Will New Road Funding Help?

Traffic Barrels With Shallow Depth of FieldIn addition to distracted drivers, Tennessee House Transportation Committee Chairman Dan Howell attributes part of the spike in traffic fatalities to unsafe road conditions. Tennessee is growing as a state and now sits at No. 17 on the nation’s list of most populated states.

With more cars traveling on our roads every day, more upkeep is needed to ensure the safety of drivers. Howell told the Times Free Press that he believes the 2017 fuel-tax increases, as well as the $132 million overhaul project on the I-75 and I-24 interchange, will help with this issue.

Protecting the Rights of Tennessee Drivers

With traffic fatalities at a 13-year high, we want to remind Tennessee drivers that you have rights if you’ve suffered injuries or lost a loved one due to a car accident that wasn’t your fault.

Our Chattanooga car accident lawyers at McMahan Law Firm see the devastating consequences of distracted and reckless driving every day. Our team has years of experience helping injured victims and their families in Chattanooga get the compensation they need and deserve for their losses.

If you’ve suffered serious injuries or lost a loved one, we may be able to help you, too. Call us today at 423-265-1100 to schedule a free consultation, or fill out our online case evaluation form.