Commissioner not surprised at more traffic deaths

Associated Press • Jan 18, 2013 at 6:36 AM

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — State safety officials say they aren't surprised that traffic fatalities were up statewide in 2012.

Safety and Homeland Security Commissioner Bill Gibbons noted that 2011 had the lowest number of Tennessee traffic deaths in nearly a half-century.

The preliminary death count for last year was 1,019 people.

That was up from 937 traffic fatalities in 2011.

Gibbons said that was the lowest death toll is 48 years and officials knew it would be difficult to replicate.

Preliminary statistic show more than 24 percent of 2012 traffic deaths involved alcohol. More than half of those killed weren't wearing seat belts.

Officials update the year-to-date traffic death toll on highway message boards on Fridays.

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