.Decline in traffic fatalities
Preliminary reports indicate seven people were killed during the 2009 Thanksgiving holiday weekend, compared to 10 fatalities during last year’s Thanksgiving holiday. Statistics for the 2009 Thanksgiving holiday reflect the time period from 6:00 p.m., Wednesday November 25, 2009, to midnight Sunday, November 29, 2009.
If preliminary figures hold true, the number of fatalities during the 2009 Thanksgiving holiday would be the same as in 1983, when seven people were killed during the 102-hour holiday time period. Seven is the fewest number of traffic fatalities ever recorded during a Thanksgiving holiday by the Tennessee Department of Safety. The highest number of people killed during a Thanksgiving holiday period happened in 1966, when 34 people were killed in crashes on Tennessee roadways. In 2007, there were 13 fatalities during the 4-day Thanksgiving holiday weekend and in 2006 20 fatalities were recorded.
Seven people were killed in five fatal crashes during the 2009 Thanksgiving holiday period. Five of the victims were not wearing seat belts. The five crashes occurred in Decatur, Fentress, Marshall, Claiborne and Cumberland counties. The fatal crash in Claiborne County was a triple fatal crash that killed a New Tazewell mother and her two children, ages 17 and 11. None of the fatality victims in the Claiborne County crash was wearing safety restraints.
Over the long holiday weekend, the Tennessee Highway Patrol conducted more than 80 sobriety and driver license checkpoints across the state, issuing citations to drivers and passengers who were not wearing seat belts as part of a stepped-up “Click it or Ticket” campaign across the state. Troopers also arrested drivers for driving under the influence and speeding.
A preliminary holiday statistical report, including dates, time and locations of where the fatal crashes occurred over the 2009 Thanksgiving holiday period, accompanies this release. Please note the official traffic fatality count may rise due to delays in reporting form municipalities and classification of traffic fatalities.
As of November 29th, preliminary statistics indicate that 860 people have died on Tennessee roadways in 2009, a decline of 93 deaths compared to 953 fatalities at this same time a year ago.
The Tennessee Department of Safety’s mission is (www.TN.Gov/safety) to ensure the safety and general welfare of the public. The department encompasses the Tennessee Highway Patrol, Office of Homeland Security and Driver License Services. General areas of responsibility include law enforcement, safety education, motorist services and terrorism prevention.