NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Tennessee traffic fatalities this year already have exceeded those of 2009, reversing a three-year trend.
So far in 2010, 1,005 persons have died in state wrecks, already more than the 989 killed in all of last year.
There were 1,211 in 2007 and 1,043 in 2008.
One encouraging figure this year is in the Memphis district of the Tennessee Highway Patrol, where traffic fatals have declined by 26 from 2009.
Traffic fatals are up 28 in the Chattanooga district and 26 in the Knoxville district, areas that are considered rural outside the cities of Chattanooga and Knoxville.
Fatal wrecks in rural counties are trending up, and troopers link this to less use of seat belts. The usage rate statewide is around 87 percent but in rural areas under 80.
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