The Tennessee Highway Patrol calls an increase in deadly car crashes in the Chattanooga area concerning.

They said more wrecks are happening in rural parts of the Channel 3 viewing area. State troopers explain it all has to do with people not buckling their seat belts.

"End today without someone losing their life," Lt. John Harmon of the Tennessee Highway Patrol said.

That's the goal Tennessee state troopers have in mind each day they report for duty.

They wear a pin that says zero as a reminder that every life counts and no one should die on the roadways.

"The hardest thing a Tennessee state trooper has to do in his career is knock on somebody's door and tell them their loved one has just passed away in a motor vehicle crash," Lt. Harmon said.

Lt. Harmon said the Chattanooga area continues to have the largest increase in deadly car crashes statewide.

The 12-county district saw 65 crashes this time last year. That number has increased by 23 this year.

No other part of the state comes close.

"The Tennessee Highway Patrol recommends that we need to get back to the basics of driving. Hands on the steering wheel and eyes on the road," Lt. Harmon said.

Bledsoe, Polk, and Rhea counties have seen the most crashes. Hamilton County has seen fewer crashes.

Harmon said more wrecks are happening in rural areas.

"Data shows the majority of crashes are because they're not wearing their seat belt. If you had your seat belt on, you would have survived the crash," Lt. Harmon said.

He said speed is also a factor. That's why troopers are reminding drivers about this troubling trend with posts on social media.

They want to stop anyone else from losing their life.

Here is a look at the official numbers:


2016 2017 YTD Diff Rural Diff Urban Diff
BLEDSOE 0 6 6 6 0


8 10 2 3 -1


5 11 6 7 -1


3 4 1 3 -2


1 0 -1 0 -1


24 21 -3 0 -3


4 7 3 3 0


10 11 1 1 0


6 2 -4 -4 0


1 7 6 6 0


0 6 6 4 2


3 3 0 0 0


65 88 23 29 -6