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Tennessee Highway Fatalities

"It's my hope that seeing this number will be a sobering reminder to all motorists and will help change the behaviors that contribute to these deadly crashes." - TDOT Commissioner John Schroer

Photo of highway message sign with Tennessee Highway Fatalities
Photo taken October 25, 2013

Why does TDOT post fatality numbers on the interstate message signs, and what does it mean?

In April 2012, Tennessee became the first state in the nation to post fatality numbers daily on its Dynamic Message Signs (DMS).  This decision was made by TDOT officials after seeing a sharp increase in fatalities in the first quarter of 2012 compared to the same period in 2011. TDOT hoped by raising the public’s awareness, a positive impact on drivers’ behaviors could reverse the current trend. By the end of 2012, the rate of fatalities had slowed and Tennessee ended the year with 1,015 fatalities.

Beginning in January 2013, TDOT decided to post the fatality numbers only on Fridays; however, by October, approximately 800 people died on Tennessee roadways, which was the same number of fatalities recorded in October 2012. In an October news conference with the Tennessee Highway Safety Office and the Tennessee Department of Safety & Homeland Security, Commissioner Schroer announced that TDOT would again post fatality numbers daily.

What does the information on the DMS represent? YTD stands for year-to-date. This is the total number of fatalities as of that day for the current year and the total number of fatalities as of that same day the previous year.

Related Links
News Conference on Fatalities - October 17, 2013 (video)
Tennessee Crash Data