Tennessee sees more traffic fatalities this year despite fewer commuters on the road

This photo provided by the Tennessee Highway Patrol shows the scene of deadly crash involving a utility vehicle and a school bus carrying children on Tuesday evening, Oct. 27, 2020, in Decatur, Tenn. (Tennessee Highway Patrol via AP)

Despite fewer Tennesseans being on the road this year compared to last, traffic fatalities continue to increase across the state for the fifth year in a row, something the Tennessee Highway Patrol stressed during a news conference following a deadly school bus crash in Meigs County late last month.

"Traffic fatalities are on the rise and in a year when they should not be - we've been in a quarantine due to a pandemic," Tennessee Highway Patrol Lt. Bill Miller said. "Drivers have to drive under the rules of the road They have to drive respectfully and with courtesy for other motorists. Occupants must buckle their seat belts You must not drive any kind of way it's going to possibly inflict harm or place somebody else's life in danger."

Tennesseans were placed under a stay-at-home order in early April in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus.