Traffic safety campaigns aim to slow deadly crashes in the Mid-South

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — There have been many deadly crashes in the Mid-South over the past few years, and law enforcement agencies are using traffic safety campaigns to try to decrease them.

The most recent fatal crash happened Tuesday night along Walnut Grove in Memphis.

Many law enforcement agencies use traffic campaigns to educate drivers and catch the bad ones in hopes of making roadways safer.

FOX13′s traffic and transportation reporter Shelia O’Connor sat down with the Tennessee Highway Patrol to find out if these campaigns are making a difference.

It’s been a slow progression, but THP officials said campaigns like Slow Down Memphis have been working.    

Karla Lipford, West Tennessee Law Enforcement Liaison, said deadly crashes are on the downward trend this year in Memphis and Shelby County.

“Last year this time, we had 178 fatalities in Shelby County,” she said. “Today we have 172. That’s six lives, six people that are home with their families.”

Lipford credited the slight decline in deadly crashes to traffic safety campaigns such as Slow Down Memphis.

She said the progression to make roads safer has been a slow process.

“It’s not as well as we would like, because of course any time, we want zero fatalities,” Lipford said.

She said in order to make roads safer, it will take more than just increasing the presence of law enforcement.

“Law enforcement, we can be out there enforcing, we can be out there doing education, we can use all the DMS all over the interstate, but if the citizens of Shelby County don’t do their part...”, she said.

Doing your part means wearing a seatbelt, driving the speed limit, and not driving while drunk or distracted.

Lipford said she’s frustrated by people who don’t obey traffic laws.

Traffic safety campaigns also provide law enforcement with crucial information, like how many citations were written and for which violation.

“What type of violation (took) place?” Lipford said. “Then you have the location. You know where the locations are, you match that up with where are we having our fatalities. Where’s the main spot where the fatalities are happening?”

This allows agencies to then take action in problem areas.

For those who seem to constantly push the boundaries on the road, putting others’ lives in danger, Lipford has this message: “Isn’t your life precious to you?”

Lipford said while the summer campaigns are coming to an end, THP is getting ready to launch a holiday safety campaign soon.