State troopers say they can predict most crashes before they hap - WSMV News 4

State troopers say they can predict most crashes before they happen

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(WSMV file photo) (WSMV file photo)

Tennessee Highway Patrol officials say they can now predict most wrecks before they happen.

It’s all thanks to predictive analytic software now available to all law enforcement officers in Tennessee.

Taking into account weather, big upcoming events and past crashes, THP said it's able to forecast where and when accidents might happen.

“A lot of times we do patrols in areas known for crashes. We have a map that says the likelihood of having a crash here is high, so we’ll go patrol that area,” said Sgt. Travis Plotzer with THP.

The models are thought be to be about 70 percent accurate, but sometimes measuring success can be tricky.

“We will never really know how many crashes we prevented,” Plotzer said.

Tennessee traffic deaths are on the rise. According to the Tennessee Integrated Traffic Analysis Network, the state has seen 803 traffic fatalities so far this year. That’s 12 more than at this time last year.

“July was a really tough month for us,” Plotzer said.

In July 2017, 42 more people died than in July 2016.

January, April and September also saw increases.

Those numbers help troopers decide where to be and when.

Plotzer said they can’t prevent them all. A split-second bad decision can turn fatal instantly, but Plotzer said just being visible in these high-risk areas helps deter those bad choices.

“Let's say you go to an area to patrol and you don't work a crash. I count that as a win,” Plotzer said.

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