published Tuesday, June 4th, 2013

Fatal crashes in Tennessee down on Memorial holiday

MEMORIAL WEEKEND TRAFFIC STOPS

Activity ... 2012 ... 2013

DUI arrests ... 94 ... 116

Seat belt citations ... 1067 ... 1384

Commercial vehicle enforcement ... 550 ... 688

Source: Tennessee Highway Patrol

Half as many people lost their lives on Tennessee highways over the Memorial Day weekend this year than in 2012, state figures show.

The Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security and the Tennessee Highway Patrol announced the holiday weekend statistics Friday.

"The preliminary statistics on this year's Memorial Day traffic figures and the decline in overall vehicular fatalities is an encouraging sign, Tennessee Highway Patrol Col. Tracy Trott said in a news release.

There were eight traffic-related deaths on state roadways during the 78-hour holiday period beginning on Friday, May 24, at 6 p.m. and ending Monday, May 27, at 11:59 p.m.

That was half the count in 2012, when 16 deaths occurred on state roadways. This year's traffic fatalities included five vehicle occupants, two motorcyclists and one bicyclist.

Three of the fatalities were alcohol-related, and two of the five vehicle occupants were not wearing safety restraints.

One of the alcohol-related crashes happened in Soddy-Daisy, where police said an intoxicated 41-year-old man crashed his car, killing his girlfriend. The driver was charged with vehicular homicide.

"State troopers, local law enforcement and highway safety advocates are making an impact across the state," said Trott.

Memorial Day Weekend traffic fatalities are not the only numbers that have fallen in the past year.

By this time last year there had been 412 total fatalities on state roadways. This year's total is 353, or 59 fewer deaths, the THP reported.

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