Drivers on the road in Tennessee, like everywhere else in the country, have many more distractions than ever. There are incoming (and outgoing) cell phone calls, “hands-free” gadgets to connect, email and text messages that need to be sent or read, possibly even hundreds of satellite radio channels to choose from, while GPS devices guide us on unfamiliar roads. All of these distractions can lead to accidents.
According to the Governor’s Highway Safety Office, the number one cause of teen deaths on the roads is distracted driving. In fact, just last year, traffic fatalities involving teens increased 10 percent in Tennessee. If you have been in a car accident, it is important to speak with an experienced Nashville attorney to help you understand your rights.
According to the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security, the roads have become more dangerous for people of all ages, over the past year. In 2012, the number of fatalities on Tennessee roads has increased from the past year by 7 percent. The numbers jumped from 937 to 1,022 deaths. If you look closer at the breakdown of the statistics, fatalities from motorcycle accidents also increased over the past year from 114 deaths in 2011, to 139 in 2012. While the crash statistics indicate that 2011 saw the lowest number of fatalities on the roads in 48 years, the increase in the past year is concerning. And unfortunately, although it is only February, the 2013 fatality statistics are already up from last year during the same time period: 71 deaths in 2012 compared with 75 in 2013.
While driver distraction plays a role in these jarring statistics, there are certainly other factors to blame. Although information about driver safety is widely publicized, many of these accidents occur as a result of the failure to take safety precautions. Law enforcement personnel frequently issue tickets to drivers and passengers for not wearing seatbelts, even though it is commonly regarded as a proven measure to reduce the number of serious automobile injuries and fatalities. Additionally, drivers continue to drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs, putting others on the road at unnecessary risk.
Keep in mind that these numbers reflect only fatalities, and fail to represent the many serious injuries from which victims suffer as a result of automobile and motorcycle accidents. People suffer from broken bones, brain injuries, burns, and other catastrophic injuries that could permanently alter a person’s life. As a result of these injuries, victims may have claims for medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages, lost future earning capacity, and permanent injury or disfigurement.
One of the reasons cited for reporting the increasing statistics is to encourage people to think about how their risky driving behaviors could lead to serious injuries and death, to themselves and to innocent people. No matter how much information is available to drivers, be it safety suggestions or shocking fatality statistics, accidents will occur. The best course of action is to consult with an experienced attorney who can help you navigate the legal system to protect your rights to any claims for damages.