Study: Rural Tennessee roads among deadliest in country

CORDOVA, Tenn. — Rural roads in Tennessee are ranked among the deadliest in the country.

According to a new study, three people die on rural roads for every one person that dies on a major road.

“He was my best friend,” Joey Kite said.

Bryant Kite was killed driving down a rural country road in Cordova.

“You know life’s never been the same since, and it will never be the same. You got to learn how to deal or live with the new normal,” Joey, the victim’s father, said.

Two days away from the seventh anniversary of his death,  Joey remembers the pain.

“It was just, it was just devastating.  It was just surreal,” he recalled.

Deaths like Bryant’s are just one of the reasons the National Transportation Research Group ranks Tennessee’s rural roads among the deadliest in the country.

“The particular road that he was on was very winding.  You know very hair-pinned turns,” Joey said.

The curves are still the same on Pisgah Road, where police say Bryant made a sharp turn too fast before he died.

“Sometimes the cars are speeding,” Bobby Pearson said.

Pearson uses the rural roads everyday.

“Many of the roads was here before the subdivision.  So it may be time to look at redesigning some of the roads out here,” Pearson said.

That’s the same point researchers want to make. Research claims many rural roads are outdated, unkept, and not safe.

The study suggests widening roads or putting ridges along the middle so cars don’t cross over. It also recommended cities install lights, reflective signs, and upgrade or add guard rails.

Kite said improvements might help save a life so families will not have to go through the tragedy he faced.

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