Memphis/ Community & Society
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Published on May 22, 2024
Memphis Reports 30% Drop in Traffic Fatalities Following Shelby County Task Force EffortsSource: Facebook/Memphis Police Department est.1827

Memphis can breathe a sigh of relief, at least on the roads, as traffic fatalities have dipped by 30% this year. A concerted effort by the newly formed Shelby County Traffic Task Force may be reaping rewards, according to local law enforcement agencies. The Tennessee Highway Safety Office, alongside Memphis Police, reported the encouraging trend, noting a marked decrease compared to the same period last year. "Fatalities are down 30% in Memphis this year," Assistant Chief Don Crowe told WREG.

The grim reality, however, persists as there have been 70 fatalities in the city thus far. Crowe expressed measured relief but lamented, "That's too many." Despite high-visibility enforcement actions, including saturation patrols, and sobriety checks, tragic incidents continue to disrupt lives, with a pedestrian and a 13-year-old among the latest casualties, according to information obtained by WREG.

Parallel data from the Tennessee Highway Patrol indicates a significant reduction in casualties across Shelby County, not just Memphis, as fatalities are down 26% countywide, as reported by the Daily Memphian. The multi-agency task force's approach, including holiday patrols and initiatives against distracted driving, seems to be influential in reducing the deadly trend.

Changing the local driving culture has been a focal point, Assistant Chief Crowe explained in a statement obtained by Local Memphis. "It's that's overall sense of not following traffic laws, not following laws at all, and that they can drive how they want, and that has to change at home, that has to change at the church." Notably, the Shelby County Sheriff's Office also reported a decrease in traffic fatalities, suggesting a broader effect of these enforcement efforts.

Community feedback has been a key driver of these enforcement campaigns, with residents calling for action against reckless driving. "Our citizens are tired of the reckless driving on the roadways and they’re tired of crime," Chief Deputy Anthony Buckner of the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office said, according to WREG. In response to public concerns, it appears that these increased efforts are beginning to pave the way for safer streets in Memphis.