Bradley County Sheriff’s Office Traffic Unit deputies are already geared up for the holiday travel weekend, according to Lt. W.G. Campbell.
“November, during past years, has been the month which most of Bradley County traffic fatalities occur,” said Campbell.
But, during recent years, due to increased attention to driving safety awareness, those numbers have dropped.
In fact, according to figures provided by the Tennessee Department of Safety, Bradley County has not had a traffic fatality recorded in November during the past two years.
In 2008, 11 lives were lost in Bradley County, with August being the deadliest month.
In 2009, 15 died due to traffic-related incidents. Three deaths each were reported in May, June and December.
Campbell attributes the lower November rate to aggressive patrols and traffic intervention, as well as the heightened public awareness of drivers and their passengers.
Bradley County as well as Tennessee Highway Patrol will hold roadblocks in the Bradley County area during the next week and through the entire holiday season.
The Bradley County Sheriff’s Office Traffic Unit was established in 2003.
Prior to that, since 1994, 243 people died on Bradley County roadways.
After the establishment of the unit, Campbell reported 114 deaths.
“Dead is dead,” said Campbell.
Quality of life for crash survivors can also be diminished.
“A life-changing crash can occur in an instant,” said Campbell.
“Slow down, wear your safety belts, make sure children and your passengers are properly restrained. It is the driver’s responsibility to do this,” explained Campbell.
“Don’t drink and drive. It’s just not worth it,” he added.
“Drivers can expect to see increased law enforcement on the roads this Thanksgiving holiday,” said Governor’s Highway Safety Office Director Kendell Poole. “We want everyone to have a safe holiday so remember to buckle up, drive the speed limit and don’t get behind the wheel of a vehicle if you’ve had anything to drink.”
Tennessee Department of Transportation also announced lane closures on Tennessee highways are suspended throughout the busy holiday period beginning at 6 p.m. today and ending Monday at 6 a.m.
THP troopers will be performing a 12-hour “C.A.R.E. Across Tennessee” campaign from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Nov. 24, and have a message for motorists traveling through the state.
To participate in the C.A.R.E. (Combined Accident Reduction Enforcement) safe driving campaign, drivers are encouraged to travel with their headlights on to indicate their commitment for safe driving, seat belt usage, and traffic law compliance. In addition. Troopers will be assigned to every 10-mile stretch of road on both the eastbound and westbound lanes of travel on Interstate 40.
“In addition to the Thanksgiving Day Holiday Weekend enforcement, our State Troopers are covering a large portion of the interstate to ensure motorists are obeying the law and wearing seat belts, especially,” said Department of Safety Commissioner Dave Mitchell.
“We want to increase our visibility and remind everyone to start the holidays off on the right foot, and buckle up on every trip.”
Research shows that it is almost nine times safer to wear your safety belt every time you get in the car.
Ten people were killed in eight fatal crashes on Tennessee roads during the 2009 Thanksgiving Holiday, 102-hour period. That is the same number as 2008 and fewer than the 13 people who died in 2007. Five of the seven vehicle occupants killed during the 2009 Thanksgiving Holiday weekend were not wearing safety restraints, according to reports.
As of Nov. 18, preliminary statistics indicate that 934 people have died on Tennessee roadways in 2010, an increase of 61 deaths compared to 873 fatalities at this same time a year ago. Statewide, fatalities are up this year over 2009, when fatalities fell to their lowest level since 1963. Many of the deaths could have easily been prevented by simply buckling a seat belt, TDOS reports indicated.