NASHVILLE --- The Tennessee Department of Safety announced Tuesday that preliminary figures indicate nine people were killed in traffic crashes on Tennessee roadways during the 78-hour Fourth of July holiday period, which ran from 6 p.m., Friday, July 2 through 11:59 p.m., Monday, July 5.
The nine fatalities is a drop from the 16 deaths that occurred during last year's July 4th weekend. Of the nine fatalities this year, six were vehicle occupants; two were motorcyclists; and one was a pedestrian. One of the fatalities was alcohol-related compared to two alcohol-related fatalities in 2009.
"While the preliminary numbers have declined, it is important to also point out that five of the people who died over the Fourth of July weekend were not wearing seat belts," stated Tennessee Highway Patrol Colonel Mike Walker.
Walker added, "We always stress the importance of wearing safety restraints. It could make a difference between life and death."
The Tennessee Highway Patrol conducted more than 80 driver license and sobriety checkpoints throughout the state during this past holiday weekend. The THP also teamed up with local law enforcement to conduct simultaneous saturation patrols on interstates and highways.
Preliminary statistics indicate 492 people have died on Tennessee roadways in 2010 compared to 494 fatalities in 2009. Please note that the statistical data for the July 4th holiday weekend and 2010 data are preliminary and are subject to change due to some delays in reporting.