TENNESSEE – On Friday, April 14, the Tennessee Highway Safety Office (THSO) will join public safety partners statewide to launch Slow Down Tennessee. From April 14 – 28, participating agencies will help increase awareness and enforcement to reduce speeding-related crashes, injuries, and fatalities across Tennessee. Students and citizens are encouraged to participate by requesting Slow Down Tennessee yard signs from the THSO for display in local areas.
According to Tennessee’s Integrated Traffic Analysis Network (TITAN), from 2018 to 2022, there were 36,870 speed-related crashes statewide. Click here for a breakdown of Tennessee traffic crash data by county from 2018 to 2022.
“The ‘Slow Down Tennessee’ campaign is a collaboration that includes public citizens,” said THSO Director Buddy Lewis. “Our goal is to help reduce speeding and dangerous driving behaviors by providing yard signs for Tennesseans. Citizens are very aware of the problem areas in their communities. We want to help by supplying resources to further share our message statewide.”
This year, AAA – The Auto Club Group funded a $5,000 sponsorship to the Tennessee Association of Chiefs of Police (TACP) to create Slow Down Tennessee yard signs for the public. These signs are available for display outside local schools and throughout local neighborhoods. Slow Down Tennessee yard signs can be requested by emailing email@example.com. Yard signs will be distributed on a first come, first served basis until the supply runs out.
“Speeding endangers not only the life of the driver, but all people on the road around them – including other drivers, passengers, pedestrians, bicyclists, road workers, and law enforcement officers,” said TACP President Chief Deborah Faulkner of Franklin Police Department. “Our officers encounter far too many victims of tragic and often fatal traffic crashes caused by driving too fast, including drivers who obey the speed limits but disregard road conditions such as bad weather, construction zones, or darkness. If these signs encourage even one person to slow down or drive less aggressively, it could prevent the loss of another life on our roadways.”
Teenagers can join in on the Slow Down Tennessee campaign through the THSO’s Reduce TN Crashes program. To participate, students can request a personalized “Slow Down” graphic including their school mascot by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Once students receive the graphics, they can post to social media, share via email, display digitally on school message boards, or display digitally on outdoor message boards. Click here to view the Reduce TN Crashes activity form and earn points: https://reducetncrashes.org/activity/slowdownsigns.
“Nearly 350 people are struck and killed outside a disabled vehicle each year, and roughly a quarter of motorists don’t know that Slow Down, Move Over laws exist in their state,” said Megan Cooper, spokeswoman for AAA – The Auto Club Group. “A recent AAA survey found that 97 percent of motorists are concerned about vehicles passing at high speeds when they are stopped at the roadside. This coupled with the rising number of roadway fatalities reinforces that motorists need to slow down and move over for all vehicles on the roadside, regardless of if it is an emergency vehicle or tow provider with flashing lights or a disabled vehicle belonging to a driver with their hazard lights on.”
The Tennessee Department of Tourist Development will also join the campaign to display Slow Down Tennessee yard signs at welcome centers statewide as a reminder to visitors and traveling motorists. The Tennessee Department of Transportation will utilize the digital highway message boards to relay the same message.
The public is encouraged to participate on social media by using #SlowDownTN to help spread awareness. The Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP) and local law enforcement statewide will increase saturation patrols, conduct high visibility enforcement, and utilize other tactics to curb speeding drivers.
“A large part of a Trooper’s daily job is to keep travelers safe on Tennessee roadways, and they will be watching closely for drivers not obeying the speed limit,” said THP Colonel Matt Perry. “Speeding leads directly to an increase in traffic fatalities. We are asking all drivers to slow down. If you witness dangerous driving behavior, dial *THP (*847) to contact the nearest THP District Headquarters.”
For more information and supporting materials, please visit www.tntrafficsafety.org/speeding.
The Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security’s mission is to serve, secure, and protect the people of Tennessee.