Last month, a 23-year-old man was tragically killed in a motorcycle crash on Chapman Highway in Knoxville. According to a spokesperson for the Knoxville Police Department, the Sevierville man and his 24-year-old passenger were headed north on a Honda motorcycle near East Ford Lane when a sport utility vehicle (SUV) made an unexpected U-turn in front of him. Unfortunately, the driver of the motorcycle could not stop before striking the SUV.
Following the traffic wreck, the man was transported to the University of Tennessee Medical Center, where he was pronounced deceased. His passenger was treated for non-fatal injuries at the same hospital. The 60-year-old SUV driver and her 64-year-old passenger were not injured in the collision. Although Knoxville police reportedly do not believe drugs or alcohol played a role in the deadly motorcycle wreck, evidence gathered during the accident investigation will apparently be forwarded to the Knox County district attorney’s office to determine whether criminal charges against the driver of the SUV are merited.
Both the deceased man and his passenger were reportedly wearing a motorcycle helmet at the time of the fatal crash. According to the nation’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), safety helmets prevent about 37 percent of traffic accident deaths among motorcycle drivers and 41 percent of motorcycle passenger fatalities across the United States each year. The State of Tennessee enacted a universal helmet law in 1967. This means all drivers and passengers in our state are required to wear a safety helmet when traveling on a motorcycle. The CDC estimates that the lives of about 46 out of every 100,000 registered motorcycle riders in Tennessee in 2010 were saved by wearing a helmet. In addition, helmet use saved the state approximately $94 million in economic costs during the same year. Overall, CDC data states Tennessee is sixth in the nation for lives and economic costs saved as a result of motorcycle helmet use.