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Highway fatalities alarming

By Eddie West

Staff Writer

It was a deadly year on roadways within the county in 2022 as at least nine people died as a result of motor vehicle accidents.

The figure is likely one of the highest totals in the 14 county Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP) Cookeville District.

Final figures for individual counties in the Cookeville District for 2022 have yet to be made available.

However, the nine fatalities in Smith County in 2022 ties the previous year’s (2021) number. During that year, the county ranked only behind a much more populated Putnam County in the number of fatalities caused by motor vehicle accidents on roadways. There were 19 fatalities recorded in Putnam County.

In 2021, there were more fatalities on roadways within Smith County than in the more populated Cumberland County in which seven fatalities were recorded.

Smith, Putnam and Cumberland counties fatality numbers are each impacted by interstate travel annually.

Other counties within the Cookeville District, have only state and county highways which factors into the number of fatalities from motor vehicle accidents.

While the official tallies for 2022 have yet to be released by the Tennessee Department of Safety’s statistical department, as of November of last year  THP was reporting nine people had died in motor vehicle accidents in Smith County.

Nine fatalities are a relatively high number of the county 

In comparison, three people died on roadways in the county in 2020, a number which may have been impacted by the COVID 19 pandemic as fewer motorists were on roadways during the year.

It was a particularly deadly year on Interstate 40 within the county, where at least six fatalities recorded four accidents.

Also, a significant number of fatal accidents involved tractor-trailer trucks. That number was four.


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