Traffic Fatalities Decline Over Holiday Weekends

Nashville, TN (2010-01-04) Preliminary reports indicate ten people were killed in Tennessee traffic crashes during the 2009-2010 New Year’s holiday weekend, compared to 12 fatalities during the 2008-2009 New Year’s holiday weekend.  Statistics for the 2009-10 New Year’s holiday reflect the 102-hour time period from 6:00 p.m., Thursday, December 31, 2009 to midnight Sunday, January 3, 2010.

Ten people were killed in eight fatal crashes during the 2009-2010 New Year’s holiday period.  Two of the ten fatalities occurred in alcohol-related crashes in DeKalb and Sumner counties.  Four of the eight people killed who were vehicle occupants were not wearing safety restraints and two of the fatalities were pedestrians.  One of fatalities was a 16 month-old child passenger who was not properly restrained and was killed in a triple fatality crash on I-75 in McMinn County.  The lowest number of people killed during the New Year’s holiday was during a 78-hour period in 1982-83 when 8 fatalities occurred in traffic crashes.

Preliminary reports also indicate two people were killed during the 2009 Christmas holiday weekend, compared to 9 fatalities during last year’s Christmas holiday.  Statistics for the 2009 Christmas holiday reflect the time period from 6:00 p.m., Wednesday, December 23, 2009, to midnight Sunday, December 27, 2009.

If preliminary figures hold true, the number of fatalities during the 2009 Christmas holiday would be a record low for a 102-hour period and near the all-time low when one person was killed during the 30-hour holiday time period in 1963.  The highest number of people killed during a Christmas holiday period happened in 1969, when 22 people were killed in crashes on Tennessee roadways. In 2008, there were 9 fatalities during the 102-hour Christmas holiday weekend.

Two people were killed in two fatal crashes during the 2009 Christmas holiday period.  One of the victims was not wearing safety restraints. The two crashes occurred in Bradley and Hardin counties. The Bradley County fatality was a pedestrian fatality.

Over the two holiday weekends, the Tennessee Highway Patrol conducted more than 100 sobriety and driver license checkpoints across the state as Troopers arrested drivers for driving under the influence and speeding.

The official traffic fatality count may rise due to delays in reporting from municipalities and classification of traffic fatalities.

Preliminary statistics indicate that 954 people died on Tennessee roadways in 2009, a decline of 89 deaths compared to 1,043 fatalities in 2008.