KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — This year, Tennessee is on its way to surpass the number of people who’ve died in a car crash compared to last year, according to data from the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security.
For the last four years, the number of people who have died in a traffic crash has increased from the year before. As of Thursday, 1,042 people across the state have died from a car crash in 2021. Around the same time last year, 932 people died.
That’s one reason why state troopers are asking drivers to report any aggression they see on the roads. Drivers in Knoxville shared their experiences with aggressive driving they’ve seen on the roads.
“You can’t be up on their bumper, because who knows what the guy in front of you is gonna hit,” Michael Guido said.
Guido is a former firefighter who moved to Knoxville about seven years ago. Because of his former job, he knows what the aftermath of aggressive driving can look like.
“We’ve cut people out of cars, we’ve picked up body parts off of roads from people speeding. They don’t obey and they get trapped up. You know, you hit something you’re going to get hurt,” Guido said.
He continues to see that kind of driving off-duty. He’ll report aggressive driving at times, but he’ll also follow them if he feels like something is off with the person behind the wheel. One time, he thought an aggressive driver was having a medical emergency.
“In that instance, my firefighter instincts took over and I followed the guy. Put my flashers on, made sure he got safe somewhere, wherever he was going. And I had called 911,” Guido said.
Guido says it can be easy to call 911 when you want to report aggressive driving. He just says, ‘hey Siri, call 911.’
But, some people say it’s not that simple. Take for example Melissa Tipton when she’s on her motorcycle. On Thursday, she was heading from Kentucky to Gatlinburg and saw plenty of aggressive driving along the trip.
“We have had all the way here this morning, we’ve had people cut us off left and right. I mean, these bikes don’t stop on a dime,” Tipton said.
She said she can’t report drivers because she needs to keep her focus on her bike and the road. “There’s nothing you can really do. Other than, I don’t know, try to leave space,” Tipton said.
Even as a driver using a car, Jennifer Hickson doesn’t always like to report aggressive drivers unless she’s in the passenger seat. She said she sees all kinds of aggressive driving on the roads though.
“Tailgating or weaving in and out of traffic, or getting too close to you next to the stop sign. I mean, just not driving safely and following traffic laws,” Hickson said.
She said over the last few years, she has noticed more aggression too. “People are more impatient and not as respectful to each other out on the roads when they’re driving.”
She tries to keep her distance in hopes the aggressive driver eventually moves on past her. With her kids old enough to drive, it makes her nervous. So, she hopes if she’s seeing it on the roads, law enforcement officers are as well.
“Get out there and get these guys doing crazy stuff. You know maybe, you’ll make a few extra bucks for the city and repair some of these potholes,” Guido said.
Tennessee Highway Patrol is asking drivers to report any aggression so that they can help put a stop to it. If you’re on a state highway or road and see an aggressive driver, you can dial *THP (847) to reach the closest Highway Patrol Headquarters.