Motor vehicle accidents happen in Tennessee every day, resulting in personal injury and property damage. Fatal auto crashes occur regularly, too, mostly as a result of bad decisions by vehicle operators.
A look at recent data shines some light on Tennessee’s fatal accidents.
An upward trend
Information from the National Safety Council reports that 1,217 accident deaths occurred in Tennessee in 2021, the most recent year with complete, published data. This represents the highest rate of fatalities in the state since at least 2010.
This equals a rate of 20.5 deaths per 100,000 people in the state. Previous years saw the death rate vary from a low of 15.0 in 2015 to a high of 18.4 in 2020. When looked at in terms of vehicle miles traveled, the state saw 1.6 deaths per 100,000 miles traveled in 2021. This also represents the highest figure for traffic deaths (tied with 2020) since 2010.
When looked at by the number of vehicles in the state, the fatal traffic death count came out to two deaths per 10,000 vehicles. This remains a high figure, historically, though 2016 and 2020 slightly exceeded this rate.
A national perspective
After reaching the highest number of motor vehicle deaths in the 1970s, traffic deaths slowly decreased in the U.S. until 2014. At that point, an increase began, moving from just over 35,000 deaths that year to nearly 47,000 deaths in 2021. This came at a time when vehicle registrations and miles traveled, with a few exceptions, increased in the nation and Tennessee.
The roadways remain a dangerous place. All drivers and passengers should exercise caution and safety measures when on the road.