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Notable Trends in 2017 Tennessee Car Accident Statistics

Like all states, the Volunteer State sees its fair share of motor vehicle accidents. Accidents can cause one’s life to flip upside down in the blink of an eye. While some victims are fortunate in that the wreck causes little to no damage to anyone’s vehicle or property, others are not nearly as lucky. Catastrophic accidents can cause permanent injuries or even death. The Tennessee Department of Safety & Homeland Security works to protect Tennesseans and reduce motor vehicle crashes, which includes providing driver education and keeping track of statistics.

2017 Tennessee driving statistics were recently released, and they yielded interesting results. For starters, there were a total of 208,104 motor vehicle crashes statewide, with 50,174 deemed to have caused an injury. Of course, these would only include injuries reported at the scene, so this figure is likely much higher considering some motor vehicle accident related injuries can take hours, days, or longer to develop. The total accident figure is an increase from 2016, when 206,404 wrecks were reported. While accidents saw a slight increase from 2016 to 2017, these figures represent a stark increase from 2008, when 159,214 accidents were reported.

In 2017, fatal car accidents slightly increased from 2016, going from 1,037 to 1,040. July was the deadliest month, with 120 fatal crashes. This can likely be attributed to the 4th of July, a holiday that typically sees a higher rate of drunk driving. 83 of the fatal crashes in 2017 involved teen drivers, compared to 103 in 2016. While teen driving fatalities decreased, the opposite occurred to seniors aged 65 and older. In 2017, 250 seniors were involved in deadly accidents, compared to 231 in 2016. Pedestrian fatalities also increased from 2016, going from 110 to 134.

State regulators also track fatalities in terms of Tennessee Highway Patrol Districts. Below are fatal accident statistics from some of the most populated districts in Tennessee:

  • Knoxville (District 1) – decreased from 171 to 166
  • Chattanooga (District 2) – increased from 109 to 112
  • Nashville (District 3) – decreased from 251 to 242
  • Memphis (District 4) – decreased from 180 to 175

An interesting statistic calculated is crash rate, which ranks the rate of accidents occurring in each county per 1,000 licensed drivers. Each county is then ranked from highest to lowest. In terms of overall crash rank, the results are about what you’d expect, with the more populated areas leading the way. For example, here are the five Tennessee counties with the highest overall crash rank for car accidents in 2017:

  1. Davidson
  2. Shelby
  3. Madison
  4. Hamilton
  5. Rutherford

The crash rates and rankings for motorcycle crashes, however, yielded different results. The five Tennessee counties with the highest overall crash rank for motorcycle accidents in 2017 are:

  1. VanBuren
  2. Johnson
  3. Lake
  4. Polk
  5. Davidson

Drunk driving accident statistics are always of concern. In 2017, Davidson County, which covers Nashville, far and away had the most, with 723. This figure is 40% more than the next highest, Shelby County (Memphis), which had 508. In terms of other large Tennessee counties, Knox County (Knoxville) had 419, Hamilton County (Chattanooga) had 382, Rutherford County (Murfreesboro) had 358, Montgomery County (Clarksville) had 203, and Williamson County (Franklin) had 169. Legally, in the context of a personal injury case, drunk driving can lead to punitive damages, which are a form of compensation awarded against those who exhibit reckless conduct.

Tennessee car accident statistics are interesting to track, as they give insight into trends. However, the biggest takeaway should always be that most accidents are 100% preventable, as long as drivers exercise basic caution behind the wheel. This includes paying attention to one’s surrounding and refraining from actions like texting while driving, driving while distracted, and driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, all of which can be deemed negligent or reckless under the law. Getting proper rest is also important, as fatigued driving can lead to poor judgment and lower reaction times, both of which cause wrecks. If you have suffered injuries in a car accident anywhere in Tennessee, contact Nahon, Saharovich & Trotz at 800-529-4004 or through our online form. We are the largest plaintiff’s personal injury law firm based in Tennessee, dedicated to leveling the playing field for injured victims and their loved ones.