Every Tennessean noticed a decline in motor vehicle traffic in the the month of April 2020. The reduced number of vehicles on the roads showed up in the death rate on the state’s highways.
In 2019, 88 people died on Tennessee highways during the month of April. In April 2020, 67 people died.
To be sure, every death on our highways results in a horrible loss for someone – each person who dies is someone’s parent, child, spouse or sibling. But last month 21 fewer families received bad news as a result of a motor vehicle crash in Tennessee.
For the year to date through the end of April, deaths from crashes in Tennessee are down only about 2%, from 312 to 307. (That is because as of the end of March 2020 there were 16 more deaths on the state’s road than there were in the first three months of 2019.) In what can only be describing as a shocking number, the number of deaths in Shelby County has increased from 38 to 64, an increase of about 70%. Deaths on urban streets (as opposed to rural roads) account of 23 of the 26 deaths.