THP reports decrease in traffic fatalities over Thanksgiving weekend
The Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security this week announced a preliminary figure that indicated six people were killed during the 2011 Thanksgiving holiday weekend, compared to 16 fatalities during last year’s Thanksgiving Day holiday period. If the 2011 preliminary number holds true, it will mark the lowest number of fatalities on record during the Thanksgiving holiday. Previously, the fewest number of vehicular fatalities was seven, which occurred during the 1983 Thanksgiving Day period.
The 2011 Thanksgiving holiday reflect the time period from 6 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 23 through midnight, Sunday, Nov. 27, 2011. Six people, including four vehicle occupants, were killed in six fatal crashes during this year’s Thanksgiving holiday period. The six crashes occurred in Coffee, Henry, Knox (three), and Madison counties. (The wreck in Madison County was a deer-related fatality.) Four of the six crashes (67%) involved alcohol. One pedestrian and one motorcyclist were also killed.
In 2010, there were 16 fatalities during the four-day Thanksgiving holiday weekend and 10 fatalities were recorded in 2009. The highest number of people killed during a Thanksgiving holiday period happened in 1966, when 34 people died in crashes on Tennessee roadways.
The Tennessee Highway Patrol kicked off the holiday period with a high-visibility enforcement campaign, including bar checks, line and saturation patrols and stationary observations. Additionally, State Troopers conducted more than 60 sobriety and driver license checkpoints across the state.
Beginning at midnight on Thanksgiving Day (Thurs., Nov. 24) through midnight on Sunday, Nov. 27, the THP issued 1,366 citations for speeding and 165 seatbelt violations for motorists age 18 and over, and apprehended 60 driving under the influence (DUI) violators statewide. State Troopers also assisted 450 motorists on Tennessee roadways.
On the eve of Thanksgiving, the THP Chattanooga District achieved its goal of reducing the number of interstate service calls from 77 in 2010 to 58 this year, by strategically placing troopers on Interstate 24 and Interstate 75 during the heaviest travel period (3-11 p.m.). They also utilized five Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) message boards and 10 fog zone message boards to further enhance a law enforcement presence.
As of Dec. 2nd, preliminary statistics indicate that 860 people have died on Tennessee roadways in 2011, a decrease of 123 deaths compared to 983 fatalities at this same time a year ago.