Officials tell News4 that Natchez Trace Parkway used to be safe and they didn’t have many issues there. Since last August, ten people have died and there’s one very dangerous thing drivers are doing that’s being blamed.
“It becomes really hard on my staff when they continually have to pick up dead bodies,” Sarah Davis of the National Park Service said.
Davis lives in Mississippi. She has the task of monitoring all 444 miles of Natchez Trace Parkway. It spans from Mississippi to Nashville. The recent spike in deadly crashes is alarming to her and she blames many of these deaths on distracted driving.
“Falling asleep, texting, failure to give full time and attention is something we see routinely," Davis says.
Another issue is speeding. Davis says it’s a parkway not an interstate, the speed limit ranges between 40-50 mph.
“We routinely see people traveling 60, 70, 80 mph. The highest I remember seeing is 121," Davis tells News4.
It’s hard to enforce the speed limit because it’s such a vast stretch of parkway, and wrecks take a few hours to respond to due to limited staff.
This parkway is meant to be a scenic route with many bikers, but she says it’s turning into a hazard. Many of the wrecks involve people who live right by the parkway.
Her solution is a new ticketing system that cuts down on time for officers so they can monitor the roads and a huge increase in unmarked cars.
Davis says the number of tickets here has almost doubled since they increased patrols and she wants that to stop.