Interstate message boards share shocking stats

(WMC-TV) – The state of Tennessee says too many people are dying in car wrecks. Far more this year, than last. If you made the commute on the interstate today, you may have learned a shocking statistic.

The Tennessee Department of Transportation programmed the overhead message boards to update traffic about the number of people who have died on state roads since January 1.

So far, there have already been 288 fatalities. That is 27 more deadly accidents than this time last year.

"We're approaching almost 300 fatalities so far this year. That's a huge number," said BJ Doughty, TDOT. "To see that number, we hope makes people think, 'Wow, that's a lot of people.'"

It is a somber statistic, but can it change the way people drive?

Martin Flanagan does not seem to think so.

"I think that's just another distraction, really," he said. "Between the phones and the signs to read, it's just another distraction."

The state hopes to drive home the point and perhaps keep the death toll from skyrocketing.

TDOT is also planning some engineering alterations like more rumble strips and more reflective pavings.

State troopers are also planning more seatbelt saturation and DUI check points.

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