Natchez Trace Parkway taking action to decrease wrecks

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Officials with scenic Natchez Trace Parkway are reminding motorists that the roadway is designed for leisurely drives and not interstate-style speeds.

Chief Ranger Sarah Davis says in a news release that actions are being taken to decrease accidents on the roadway. She says rangers are being moved to areas where accident rates are highest, and more tickets are being written.

“Rangers have increased the number of checkpoints and saturation patrols to focus on driving behaviors and violations associated with fatalities,” Davis continued. “A 2-week saturation patrol that focused on aggressive driving behavior resulted in the issuance of 300 citations. Another checkpoint resulted in the impoundment of 28 vehicles for a variety of violations including unlicensed drivers or lack of insurance. Probably one of our most effective tools is rangers using unmarked vehicles to patrol the Parkway to focus on aggressive and distracted driving.”

Davis says there were no deaths from motor vehicle collisions in 2018 until August. But in recent months, 10 people have died.

The scenic drive leads through the hills of middle and southern Tennessee, offering spectacular vistas, accessible walking trails, wildlife and a haven for bicyclists and motorcyclists.

“The Natchez Trace Parkway is a National Park Service unit,” said Parkway Superintendent Mary Risser. “It was designed to provide for leisurely driving. Lanes are 11 feet wide, there are no paved shoulders, and trees line the road. It is a very unforgiving road to drive when speeding, under the influence, or not paying attention.”

The 444-mile National Park Service roadway passes through Alabama and crosses Mississippi diagonally. (AP)

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