Preliminary figures from the Tennessee Department of Safety show seven people were killed in traffic crashes on Tennessee roadways during the Memorial Day holiday weekend — a drop from the 13 fatalities in 2008 and 21 in 2007.
“These numbers are still preliminary, but we are happy to see a decline in the number of fatalities over the long weekend,” said Safety Commissioner Dave Mitchell on Tuesday. “We held nearly 80 checkpoints across the state, and, even though the holiday is over, State Troopers will continue to work hard enforcing the rules of the road and saving lives.”
During the 2009 Memorial Day holiday, which ran from 6 p.m., Friday, May 22 through midnight Monday, there were six fatal crashes that resulted in seven fatalities. Five of the people killed were vehicle occupants. One motorcyclist and one pedestrian were also killed.
“It is important to point out that none of the fatalities occurred in alcohol-related crashes. However, four of the five people killed in vehicle crashes over the weekend were not wearing their seat belt,” stated Tennessee Highway Patrol Colonel Mike Walker. “Wearing your seat belt is the single, most effective way you can protect yourself in a crash. How many of those victims would still be here today if they had taken a few seconds to just buckle up?”
The THP has teamed up with law enforcement officers from across the state and around the country for the national Click It or Ticket campaign. The initiative kicked off last week and runs through the end of the month. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2007, more than 14,000 people in passenger vehicles were killed in crashes while unbelted in the United States. About half of those lives could have been saved if they had been wearing seat belts at the time of the crash.
Also this Memorial Day holiday, the Department of Safety launched its Traffic Fatality Victims’ Memorial. More than a thousand people die each year on Tennessee roadways, and this online memorial is designed to give family members of those killed on our highways an opportunity and place to memorialize and remember their loved ones.
For more information regarding the TN Department of Safety Traffic Fatality Victims’ Memorial, please visit the department's Web site.