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Tennessee Roads Among Deadliest in the Nation

A vibrant nighttime view of downtown Nashville, showcasing the city's skyline illuminated with lights. The photo captures the dynamic flow of traffic on the highway leading into the city, with long exposure creating light trails of white and red from the moving vehicles.

Traffic fatalities across the U.S. have increased since the COVID-19 pandemic. While preliminary data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows a slight decrease in 2023, the problem remains high, especially in some states.

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    A new study by The Zebra shows that Tennessee roads are among the deadliest in the United States. Many factors come into play—from poor road conditions to distracted driving.

    How does Tennessee rank in fatal car accidents nationally?

    Tennessee's position in the national rankings for fatal car accidents is alarmingly high. In 2020, Tennessee ranked 8th among all states for the number of deaths per 100,000 people due to car accidents. The state reported a death rate of 17.6 per 100,000 residents, which is much higher than the national average.

    To put this in perspective, Tennessee's fatality rate is more than three times higher than that of the safest state, Massachusetts, which reported only 4.9 deaths per 100,000 people. This places Tennessee among other high-risk states such as Mississippi, Wyoming, and Arkansas.

    This statistic is even more concerning because Tennessee's population isn't among the largest in the country. States with much larger populations, such as California and New York, have lower fatality rates despite having more drivers on the road.

    Tennessee's high ranking isn't a one-time occurrence, either. In recent years, the state has consistently placed in the top 10 for fatal car accidents.

    What factors contribute to the high fatality rate on Tennessee roads?

    Several key factors contribute to Tennessee's high rate of fatal car accidents, including:

    • Distracted driving: According to the NHTSA, distracted driving caused roughly 3,308 traffic fatalities in 2022. This typically involves drivers using cell phones, multitasking, or engaging in other distractions behind the wheel.
    • Poor road conditions: Tennessee's mix of urban and rural roads, coupled with inclement weather conditions, don't necessarily cause serious car accidents. However, poor road conditions and road infrastructure are a significant contributor.
    • Speeding and aggressive driving: The greater the speed, the higher the likelihood of a serious or fatal crash. The NHTSA reports that 12,151 people across the U.S. died in crashes linked to speeding.
    • Drunk driving: Alcohol-related crashes remain a persistent problem nationwide, and Tennessee is no exception. About 13,524 lives were lost in 2022 due to drunk driving, according to the NHTSA.
    • Lack of seatbelt usage: Lack of seatbelts isn't a cause of fatal crashes, but it's linked to many traffic fatalities. According to the NTSHA, more than 11,000 passenger vehicle occupants who died in collisions weren't wearing seatbelts.
    • Diverse mix of vehicles on the road: Lastly, the mix of vehicle types on Tennessee roads could contribute to the state's increased number of fatal crashes. We often see everything from compact cars to large trucks sharing the same road.

    Hurt in a Middle Tennessee crash? Let us fight for justice on your behalf

    If you've been injured in a car accident or lost a loved one in Nashville or anywhere in Middle Tennessee, the Law Office of Eric Beasley is ready to protect your rights and fight for the maximum compensation you deserve. We have over 20 years of experience representing Nashville area residents. Our proven track record is demonstrated in our case results, including a $1.25 million settlement for a head-on collision case and an $850,000 recovery for a fatal drunk driving accident.

    Our law firm can investigate your car accident, build a strong case, and aggressively pursue the maximum compensation you deserve for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages. Time is critical in these cases, so don't wait. Contact us today for a free consultation, and let us put our experience to work for you. We operate on a contingency fee basis, so you owe us nothing unless we recover compensation for you.

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