CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -
New numbers from 2014 show Tennessee just recorded its second-lowest traffic fatality number in 50 years.
Preliminary numbers show there were 961 deaths on Tennessee roadways in 2014. That's a 3.4 percent decrease from the 995 traffic deaths in 2013.
“Tennessee has experienced record low numbers in three of the last four years; and we hope to continue that trend in the future,” said Homeland Security Commissioner Bill Gibbons.
Statewide, troopers also made almost 2,000 more DUI arrests from the previous year.
Lt. John Harmon with the Tennessee Highway Patrol's District 2 office provided numbers for the greater Chattanooga area which includes counties like Hamilton, Marion, Bledsoe and others.
Lt. Harmon said the THP worked 54 motor vehicle crashes in 2014 that were fatal within District 2. Of those, he said 41 percent involved drugs or alcohol and 43 percent involved someone not wearing a seatbelt in a situation where it would have saved their lives.
The numbers are also looking better within Chattanooga City limits:
2014: 25 fatalities (5 alcohol/drug related)
2013: 29 fatalities (14 alcohol/drug related)
Lt. David Gibb attributes a 60 percent decrease in alcohol and drug related fatalities to increased enforcement, working closely with bar owners, and receiving a $100,000 grant from the Governor's Highway Safety Office.
The department got that grant in April 2014 and said it would use the money to try to reduce the number of fatalities, DUI offenders and serious crashes in Chattanooga.
The Georgia State Patrol worked five more fatal crashes in 2014 than 2013 with 675 recorded this past year. That figure only includes wrecks that the GSP worked.