Are Texting Drivers Behind A Spike In Tennessee Highway Deaths?

The Tennessee legislature outlawed texting while driving, though the new statute has resulted in very few violations. Credit: IntelFreePress via Flickr

The Tennessee legislature outlawed texting while driving, though the new statute has resulted in very few violations. Credit: IntelFreePress via Flickr

Highway fatalities in Tennessee have spiked and are now on pace to top last year. State troopers say texting-while-driving is to blame. 

Roadway deaths were actually down for the first half of the year and then began to spike after July 4.

The number of alcohol-related crashes has actually dropped by more than 10 percent. There’s no hard data that proves it, but Col. Tracy Trott guesses half of this year’s 800 fatalities nvolved a distracted driver.

“Not many people are going to admit to that being the cause of the crash, but we know that we see it all the time. Everybody is on an iPhone. Everybody is on a Blackberry. Everybody is talking, texting, emailing.”

Even though there’s a state law banning it, Trott says there’s very little troopers can do to crack down on texting-while-driving except to ask that people put down their phones.

The Tennessee Department of Transportation has also revived a campaign from last year, updating the roadway fatalities every day on Interstate message boards.

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