7:35am

Tue January 17, 2012
Drop Attributed to Crackdown on Drunk Driving

Tenn. Highway Deaths Way Down

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee's highway deaths in 2011 stayed below 1,000 for just the third time in 48 years.

Preliminary figures released by the Tennessee Department of Safety show the state had 947 traffic-related deaths last year. According to the Knoxville News Sentinel, that could make 2011 the safest year on Tennessee roads in nearly a half century.

Last year's preliminary figure is six more than the total in 1963, when the state was less populated and fewer cars were on the road.

Law enforcement authorities say tough enforcement of drunken driving and seat belt laws contributed to last year's historically low number of traffic fatalities.

Drunken driving-related deaths have fallen by nearly 32 percent between 2006 and 2010.

And 2011 figures show seat-belt usage is way up.