State officials launch “Slow Down Tennessee” for driver awareness


TENNESSEE – On Friday, April 16, the Tennessee Highway Safety Office (THSO) will launch a new speeding prevention campaign called “Slow Down Tennessee” in partnership with the Tennessee Department of Safety & Homeland Security, the Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP), the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT), AAA – The Auto Club Group, the Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD), and local law enforcement agencies. From April 16 – 30, participating agencies will increase public education, awareness, and enforcement efforts to reduce speeding-related crashes, injuries, and fatalities statewide.

“Slow Down Tennessee’ is the collaboration of various public safety partners with a shared mission to improve driver behavior and save lives,” said Director Buddy Lewis of the THSO. “We have all noticed the spike in reckless driving occurring since the pandemic. All we ask of the motoring public is to be considerate of other roadway users and obey the traffic laws, so we can all make it home safely.”

According to Tennessee’s Integrated Traffic Analysis Network (TITAN), there were nearly 23,000 speeding-related crashes in Tennessee from 2017 to 2019. Thirty-six percent of those crashes involved drivers between the ages of 18 and 24 years old.

“Speeding is a significant problem in our state, and not just with older adults,” said Tennessee Regional Manager Gavin Gill of SADD. “Young adults and teenagers are engaging in this risky behavior, as well. During the pandemic, many teenagers felt that speeding would not harm them since the roadways were clear. Now with Tennessee cities and towns opening back up, that risky behavior is causing teenagers to get in fatal speeding crashes. That is why SADD is excited to help educate and promote that young drivers need to follow the marked speed limits and slow down.”

The “Slow Down Tennessee” campaign includes a multi-pronged approach. The public is encouraged to participate by using #SlowDownTN on social media to help spread awareness. Law enforcement agencies statewide will increase saturation patrols, conduct high visibility enforcement, and utilize other tactics to curb speeding drivers.

“The THP supports the THSO’s ‘Slow Down Tennessee’ campaign,” said Colonel Matt Perry of the THP. “All across Tennessee, we have seen an escalation in speeding that has led directly to an increase in traffic fatalities. We are asking our law enforcement and education partners, including all drivers, to join us in slowing down Tennessee.”

Outdoor signage will display “Slow Down Tennessee” as visual reminders for speeding drivers. This includes the use of large banners and digital message boards.

“Speeding is a high-risk behavior that threatens the safety of all roadway users,” said Commissioner Clay Bright of the TDOT. “When you speed, you risk losing control of your vehicle, crashing into other vehicles, and causing property damage. During this campaign, TDOT message boards will be utilized to remind drivers to slow down and obey all posted speed limits to reduce speeding and prevent fatal crashes across Tennessee highways.”

AAA – The Auto Club Group is participating in “Slow Down Tennessee” by educating drivers about the impact of speeding in motor vehicle crashes. This year, the AAA Foundation collaborated with the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and Humanetics to examine how speed affects the likelihood and severity of occupant injury in a crash. Click here to read the full report.

“Small speed increases can have huge effects on crash outcomes and harm to a human body,” said Spokeswoman Megan Cooper of AAA – The Auto Club Group. “Higher speed limits cancel out the benefits of vehicle safety. The faster a driver is going before a crash, the less likely it is that they’ll be able to get down to a survivable speed even if they have a chance to brake before impact. A speeding driver may arrive at their destination a few minutes faster, but is the tradeoff of getting severely injured or even losing one’s life worth it if a crash occurs?”

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