We all know 2020 has been a year that has defied expectations and explanation. Everyone has been impacted by COVID-19 in one way or another, including the interruption of the most basic aspects of life like school, grocery shopping, eating out, or simply visiting friends and family. Well, we can add one more inexplicable stat to 2020. More people have died on Rutherford County roads so far in 2020 than all of 2019. Yes, you read that right, despite months of lockdowns, quarantine, closed schools, and working from home, road fatalities in Rutherford County are up.
The Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security compiles motor vehicle accident data. So far in 2020, there have been 30 fatalities on Rutherford County roads. There were 18 accident-related fatalities in all of 2019. In fact, statewide vehicle accident fatalities are up overall in 2020. For example, in Shelby County there were 100 motor vehicle accident fatalities in 2019. So far, there have been 170 fatalities in 2020.
There are no obvious answers as to why vehicle accident fatalities are up statewide, and I am not going to speculate as to why this is the case. The bottom line is we can do better as a community. Less cars on the roads should not mean we drive faster than normal. Just like being cooped up in our homes should not cause us to drive more aggressively. The most important thing we can all do as a community is to realize this is a horrible trend and to deliberately drive more carefully. We can make the roads safer collectively by rededicating ourselves to safe driving habits.
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