TDOT cites 'an aggressive campaign' for decrease in fatalities

| 9/13/2002

Fatalities on Tennessee highways declined 5.3 percent from 2000 to 2001, dropping from 1,307 to 1,237 deaths, according to the Tennessee Department of Transportation.

The drop in fatalities puts Tennessee among the top 10 most improved states, TDOT said. The state had 1,216 deaths in 1998 and 1,302 in 1999.

''Over the last five years, one of our strategic goals has been to improve the safety of our highway system,'' Transportation Commissioner Bruce Saltsman said. ''While we still have work to do, we have successfully increased public awareness through an aggressive informational program and through checkpoints by the Tennessee Highway Patrol ..."

TDOT said a series of safety initiatives contributed to the decrease, including: federal funding for checkpoints for drunken driving and seat-belt usage, highway emergency assistance trucks in the state's four largest urban areas, and investment of $49 million in 950 ''quick hit'' safety projects that have included installation of signals and guardrails, and improved striping and turn lanes over a 10-year period.

The state report says Tennessee is on target to see another reduction in 2002, even though more people are traveling more miles than ever before.