Tennessee DOT Signs Tallying Fatalities Controversial

In Tennessee, there are 151 electrical highway signs that have been in place for about a decade. These electrical highway signs are similar to those found in other states and are routinely used to inform drivers about lane blockages and drive times. Recently, however, the Tennessee Department of Transportation (DOT) began using the signs to display information on the number of traffic fatalities that have occurred thus far over the course of the year.

The signs are controversial, with some complaining that they are too gruesome. However, WBIR reports that the sister of one car accident death has spoken out in support of the signs. Further, WBIR also reports that other states have since followed with signs of their own. Our Johnson City, TN accident attorneys believe that the signs may make people think about their own driving behaviors and we support the signs because they could potentially help to save lives.

The DOT Signs On Traffic Fatalities

WBIR reports that posting the information on traffic fatalities year-to-date is something that costs the state no money at all since the electrical highway signs are already in existence. The intent to use the signs to highlight auto accident dangers was developed during a brainstorming session by Texas DOT officials last spring. The goal was to find some way to respond effectively to the state’s increasing rate of auto accident deaths.

According to WBIR, 1,013 people died in Tennessee in car wrecks in 2012, which was an increase of 75 people over 2011 numbers. State highway officials indicated that they believed many more people would have died if they had not started to use the electronic signs to post the number of fatalities.

They base this opinion, in part, on the fact that the number of car accident deaths in 2012 was 64 more in the first three months of that year than the number of fatalities during the same period in 2011. Had this trend continued unabated, there likely would have been in excess of 1,200 deaths. Instead, the number of auto accident deaths leveled off over the remainder of the year after the signs were put up. This serves as anecdotal evidence that the signs are working.

WBIR was also told by officials that people were talking about the signs everywhere, which is a good thing because the discussion gets people thinking about the driving choices they are making. The sister of a drunk driving victim also spoke out in support of the signs, noting that the numbers aren’t an abstract reality; they reflect real lives lost.

How the Traffic Fatality Signs Can Help

According to WBIR, the Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Transportation believes that awareness is extremely important in preventing car accident death. Because the signs make people aware of how many fatal accidents have occurred, they might encourage drivers to stop texting, to slow down and to buckle up.

If this is the case, then those who change their behavior after the gruesome reminder of the car accident fatalities may be able to avoid becoming another statistic. Not only that, but all drivers on the road may be a little safer if people actually stop doing the dangerous behaviors that put everyone at risk.

If you are in an accident in Johnson City, Tennessee, contact Meade Injury Law Group today at (423) 464-7779for a free consultation.