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Decrease in Traffic Fatalities Over Thanksgiving Holiday Weekend

Preliminary Figure Mark Fewest Fatalities on Record

Tennessee Department of SafetyNashville, TN – The Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security today 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.

2011 Thanksgiving Holiday Fatality Log
2011 Thanksgiving Holiday Fatality Log

The 2011 Thanksgiving holiday reflect the time period from 6:00pm, Wednesday, November 23rd through midnight, Sunday, November 27th, 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.

“We are encouraged by the low number of fatalities on Tennessee roads during the Thanksgiving Day holiday period,” THP Colonel Tracy Trott said. “The decrease in vehicular fatalities during the holiday and throughout the year is a testament to our agency’s heavy DUI and traffic safety enforcements. However, one death is still too many. We will continue our efforts in hopes of safer highways throughout the state.”

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 (Thursday, November 24th) through midnight on Sunday, November, 27th, 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 (3:00pm – 11:00pm). 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 December 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.

A preliminary holiday statistical report, including dates, time and locations of the 2011 Thanksgiving Day period fatal crashes accompany this release.  Please note the official traffic fatality count may rise due to delays in reporting from municipalities and classification of traffic fatalities.

About Tennessee Department of Safety

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.


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