Zero traffic fatalities in 2015 was a milestone for Grundy County. Since the Tennessee Highway Patrol began keeping records in the 1950s, 2015 marked the first year the county had no deaths due to vehicle crashes.
“Zero is a number that has a lot of meaning to us,” said Tennessee Highway Patrol leader Col. Tracy Trott, who was in Monteagle on Friday to honor Grundy County law enforcement. “We all (THP officers) wear a ‘zero’ on our uniform to remind us of the importance of reaching zero fatalities.”
Grundy County Sheriff Clint Shrum acknowledged the teamwork that went into reaching zero fatalities last year. “We accomplished zero fatalities as a unit,” said Shrum, describing how the sheriff’s office, the Monteagle Police Department, and the Tracy City Police Department worked together. “Zero fatalities was phenomenal.”
Before honoring local law enforcement officers with Col. Excellence Award certificates and commemorative coins for their achievements, Trott quoted some staggering statistics.
“Our number one priority is stopping impaired drivers,” said Trott. “For the past five years, approximately 28 percent of traffic fatalities have involved an impaired driver. But, we have increased DUI arrests over the past five years.”
Overall, DUI arrests are up 150 percent, making driving safer in Tennessee by getting impaired drivers off the roads.
“Our second priority is encouraging drivers and passengers to wear seat belts – the single most effective way to protect yourself in a vehicle.” Trott went on to say seat belt fatalities have gone down six percent over the past five years.
Grundy County was one of only five or six counties in Tennessee to reach the zero fatality goal. Trott said all county law enforcement officers have saved lives. “Grundy County has done more than they could do to reach zero fatalities in 2015.”