Distracted driving is now at epidemic levels across America. There were an estimated 40,000 traffic fatalities last year alone, a six percent increase from 2015. Furthermore, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports over 391,000 injuries in traffic accidents last year alone caused by distracted driving (driving while texting, talking on cellphones, surfing the web, using apps or updating social networks).
According to a traffic fatality study conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, pickup trucks and SUVs had lower driver death rates in accidents on roadways in Tennessee and across the U.S. Various pickup truck makes and models were analyzed, and some fared much better than others.
While many Tennessee drivers may hear about the dangers of driving while intoxicated, texting or fatigued, analysts say that eating while driving is one of the most common forms of distracted driving. Studies have shown that drivers who are eating or drinking are far more likely to become involved in a car accident than those who are not.
Compared to other states, Tennessee ranks among neither the best or worst states when it comes to enforcing highway traffic safety laws according to a report by Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety. The report examined state traffic laws concerning impaired driving, teen drivers, child safety, motorcycle helmet use and more. It recommended that all states adopt 376 laws that were identified as important for safety such as ones that address seat belt use in rear passengers and a primary seat belt law for front seat passengers. Several states did not enforce these seat belt regulations.
Tennessee drivers may eventually be unable to text or use apps on their iPhones while they are driving if a class action lawsuit against Apple is successful. However, the lawsuit, which was filed in California, is currently only asking for remedies in that state. The plaintiffs want Apple to be required to place a safety lock feature on all phones sold in the state. Apple received a patent for the lock in 2014 and has had the technology since 2008 but has not yet installed it.
Motorists in Tennessee who have access to the Snapchat speed filter may want to be aware that the novel application has been linked to deadly driving events. Although use of the popular social media platform's app might divert a driver's attention from the roadway, there appears to be greater concern that the speed filter could actually encourage drivers to accelerate to dangerous speeds.
On October 7th, 2013, the District Attorney's office in Chattanooga, Tennessee moved for a dismissal of a vehicular homicide with a blood alcohol level of .24.