THP encouraging everyone to drive defensively during 4th of July travel
More than 40 million people are planning to travel this holiday weekend and most of them are driving. If you're hitting the road, the Tennessee Highway Patrol says you should combat the dense roadways with defensive driving.
On average there are 37 percent more highway fatalities on July 4th than the average July day. With thousands expected to be on the roadways; "THP will be looking for impaired drivers, drivers not wearing seat belts and aggressive drivers," said Lt. John Harmon.
Lt. Harmon says the last week on Tennessee roadways has been a tough one. "In the Chattanooga area, nine people have lost their lives in five days from traffic related fatalities. That is uncalled for," said Harmon.
They're hoping no more are added to that list during the holiday weekend. "Our drive is to drive to zero fatalities. Our ultimate goal is for everyone to enjoy the holidays without a vehicle crash and without a fatality," said Harmon.
Unfortunately, national statistics are painting a different picture. The National Safety Council is predicting more than 400 people will be killed on the road during the holiday weekend, with nearly 50,000 injured. They say several factors influence those numbers, like the fact the holiday falls on a Saturday, saying weekend holidays tend to have higher levels of traffic.
AAA says more than forty million people are planning to get away for the Fourth; the most since 2007. They say the dominant mode of transportation is on the road. About 85% of travelers will drive their own car to their destinations.
Harmon says with more congestion means drivers need to be more aware. "It is important all drivers drive defensively. You've got to constantly be looking out for another driver that's driving offensively.”
Which he says could be from distractions or alcohol. Lt. Harmon says isn't confined to one time of the day. “The public needs to look after impaired drivers at all time during the day. Impaired drivers are driving on our road at morning. They're driving on our roads in the afternoon. They're driving on our roads in the nighttime," said Harmon.
If you see any suspicious driving you're asked to call *847, which will get you in contact with a state trooper anywhere in the state.