TN road fatalities much lower so far this year - WSMV Channel 4

TN road fatalities much lower so far this year

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

Drivers on Tennessee interstates may be noticing something a bit different on those digital signs above the road these days.

For much of 2012, the signs announced the state's highway death toll, but the count is now only showing up occasionally because this year is actually off to a safer start than last year.

The Tennessee Highway Patrol reports 178 lives have been lost since Jan. 1, which is a 23 percent decrease in roadway fatalities.

Authorities credit increased DUI arrests and seatbelt enforcement for the fewer deaths; however, for the state, the goal is always the same.

"We're always thinking about the number zero - to get to zero fatalities. People may say that's unrealistic, but there's no acceptable number of fatalities that we would allow," said THP Col. Tracy Trott.

Authorities say the victims in 53 percent of last year's fatal crashes weren't buckled up, so they remind everyone the best way to protect yourself is to always wear a seatbelt.

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