Memphis City Council proposes ways to prevent fatal crashes

Published: Jul. 25, 2023 at 5:52 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - City leaders proposing ways to make intersections across the City of Memphis safer.

Tuesday morning, Memphis City Council members took a hard look at the traffic signal system and why drivers don’t follow traffic rules. This comes after Memphis was ranked as the most dangerous city in America for drivers in the latest federal data analysis.

Shockingly, one out of every five fatal accidents in Memphis is attributed to a single cause: speeding. The data specifically points to drivers disregarding traffic signals, especially red lights on city streets.

MPD says increased visibility at traffic signals will serve as a deterrent, encouraging drivers to prioritize safety on the roads.

When asked what the department would like to see for the city’s drivers, Assistant Police Chief Shawn Jones said, “Seeing the police on city streets, enforcing the law to make people stop for that light, and not try to bust through that red light after it’s turned red.”

When asked if increased wait times between lights would bring down the number of fatal accidents, a representative with the City of Memphis Division of Engineering said the wait times depend on variables such as the width of the intersection and the speed limit on the city street.

“Oftentimes, those are typically like two seconds, and that allows for vehicles to actually clear out that intersection,” the representative said.

One potential solution discussed at Tuesday’s meeting would involve Memphis-Shelby County Schools.

“I think we need to think about in this community is how do we go back to teaching Driver’s Ed in city schools,” said Memphis City Councilman Dr. Jeff Warren.

Driver’s Ed was removed from the district’s curriculum in 2014.

“We have a generation of kids and now young adults who never had that education,” Dr. Warren said.

Other solutions brought to the table included signs telling drivers to remain patient.

But according to other council members, that still would not teach young drivers the importance of respecting the rules of the road.

“They do not understand the danger of taking a two-ton vehicle at 60 miles per hour down a city street. What that can do to themselves and other people,” Dr. Warren said.

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