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More Tennessee DUI arrests, seatbelt citations in 2014

It is a sad reality that many Tennesseans die each year in car accidents. In fact, according to the Tennessee Highway Patrol, more than 950 individuals died on our state's roads in fatal accidents in 2014. Nearly 21 percent of these wrecks were alcohol-related even though more than 8,000 DUI arrests occurred in 2014, up significantly over arrests made in 2013. These numbers are staggering, and similar 2012 data put Tennessee 11th on the list of states with the most traffic fatalities per miles traveled by vehicle.

With this in mind, Tennessee law enforcement made it point to issue more seatbelt violation citations in 2014, and they succeeded. More than 30,000 more citations were issued in 2014 than in 2013, bringing the total to more than 100,000. Though officials hope that these efforts will reduce traffic fatalities, they also took action to stop more drunk drivers. Drunk driving arrests have increased 150 percent in the last four years, with officers making an extra effort to stop those they suspect are driving intoxicated. Their efforts last year may have paid off, as traffic fatalities were down four percent in 2014 compared to 2013.

Though an increased police presence and advanced technology may be able to help protect Tennessee motorists, they cannot stop all accidents nor can they help those who have already lost a loved one to a tragic accident. In these instances, surviving family members may want to consider their legal options.

A Knoxville attorney may be able to help a surviving family hold a negligent driver accountable for the damage he or she caused, thus opening the door for the recovery of compensation. Such monetary awards might help pay funeral and medical expenses and recoup lost wages. Additionally, a successful claim may help deter negligent and reckless driving, hopefully further reducing the number of fatalities on our roadways.

Source: Nashville Public Radio, "To Reduce Traffic Deaths, Tennessee Troopers Handed Out 30,000 More Seat Belt Citations in 2014," Emily Siner, Jan. 5, 2015

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