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THP Reminds Celebrants: Don’t Wreck the Holidays with Too Much Cheer on the Roadways

 

Remember: Drunk Driving. Over The Limit. Under Arrest.

The Tennessee Highway Patrol LogoNashville, TN – In conjunction with the National Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month, the Tennessee Highway Patrol will be cranking up its enforcement effort throughout the upcoming Christmas and New Year’s Day celebrations to find and remove impaired drivers from Tennessee roadways.

State Troopers will be conducting more than 100 sobriety and driver license checkpoints with a clear message to motorists – “Don’t Wreck the Holidays.”

Drunk Driving. Over The Limit. Under ArrestTHP is also participating in the national campaign, Drunk Driving. Over the Limit. Under Arrest.  “The Highway Patrol will be working with law enforcement officers from hundreds of agencies across the state and country to remove impaired drivers from the road,” Department of Safety Commissioner Dave Mitchell said. “It is our duty to ensure the public’s safety through education, regulation and especially enforcement; we take this responsibility seriously on holidays and all throughout the year.”

The 2010 Christmas holiday period begins at 6:00pm on Thursday, December 23rd, and runs through 11:59pm on Sunday, December 26th, while this year’s New Year’s holiday period will commence at 6:00pm, Thursday, December 30th, and will conclude at 11:59pm, Sunday, January 2nd, 2011.

The holiday season is one of the deadliest and most dangerous times of the year due to an increase in impaired driving.  In 2009, 303 people died in Tennessee traffic crashes involving a driver or motorcycle rider with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher. That’s a one percent decline from the 306 impaired driving deaths in 2008, and a 19.6% decline from the 377 impaired driving deaths in 2007. Nationwide, impaired driving fatalities dropped from 11,711 in 2008 to 10,839 in 2009, a 7.4 percent decline.

“While the number of impaired driving fatalities has declined both nationwide and in Tennessee, that’s not enough,” said THP Colonel Tracy Trott. “We will not rest…we will not stop working until drunk driving fatalities become non-existent. Our Troopers will spare no expense to keep drunk drivers off the road en route to saving lives this holiday season. If we catch you, we will arrest you.” 

Tennessee Highway PatrolThe National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) states that in December 2009, 753 people nationwide were killed in crashes involving a drunk driver with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher. That was down from 888 people killed in similar impaired driving crashes in 2008. 

During the 2009 Christmas holiday period, six people were killed in traffic crashes on Tennessee roadways. This represents one death every 17 hours. Alcohol was involved in 33 percent of those crashes and one of the five vehicle occupants killed was not wearing a safety restraint.

Thirteen people were killed during last year’s New Year’s holiday period 2009-10 and 23 percent of the fatalities occurred in alcohol-related crashes.

In 2009, there were 989 traffic fatalities in Tennessee, down just over five percent from 1,043 fatalities in 2008. As of December 16th, preliminary statistics indicate that 996 people have died on Tennessee roadways this year, an increase of 48 deaths (9 percent) compared to 948 fatalities at this same time a year ago. 

If you are planning to drink alcohol with family and friends, there are several simple steps to help avoid a tragic crash or trauma and the financial costs associated with an impaired driving arrest.

  • Plan ahead: Whenever you plan on consuming alcohol, designate your sober driver before going out and give that person your keys.
  • If you’re impaired, call a taxi, use mass transit or call a sober friend or family member to get you home safely.
  • Wearing your seat belt or using protective gear when on your motorcycle is your best defense against an impaired driver.
  • And remember, “Friends Don’t Let Friends Drive Drunk”.  If you know someone who is about to drive or ride while impaired, take their keys and help them make other arrangements to get to where they are going safely.
  • Violators often face jail time, the loss of their driver’s license, higher insurance rates, and dozens of other unanticipated expenses from attorney fees, other fines and court costs, towing and repairs, lost time at work, etc.

Statistics for the 2009 Christmas and the 2009-2010 New Year’s Holiday period are attached.  Below is a list of the sobriety and driver license checkpoints scheduled for the upcoming holidays.

For more information, please visit www.StopImpairedDriving.org .

About The Tenneseee Department of Safety

The Tennessee Department of Safety’s mission is (www.TN.Gov/safety) to ensure the safety and general welfare of the public.  The department encompasses the Tennessee Highway Patrol, Office of Homeland Security and Driver License Services. General areas of responsibility include law enforcement, safety education, motorist services and terrorism prevention.

District 3 – Nashville

Friday, December 24th:

  • DL CHECKPOINT – ROBERTSON County – HWY 49 @ HWY 25 – MORNING
  • SOBRIETY – HUMPHREYS County – HWY 70 IN MCEWEN CITY LIMITS – EVENING

Monday, December 27th:

  • DL CHECKPOINT – DAVIDSON County – NEELYS BEND @ CHEYENNE – EVENING

Tuesday, December 28th:

  • DL CHECKPOINT – CHEATHAM County – SAMS CREEK NEAR DRY CREEK – MORNING
  • DL CHECKPOINT – MONTGOMERY County – HWY 374 S. OF LAFAYETTE RD – MORNING

Friday, December 31st:

  • SOBRIETY – DAVIDSON COUNTY – 3220 BELL ROAD – LATE EVENING
  • DL CHECKPOINT – DICKSON COUNTY – HWY 70 @ MONTGOMERY BELL PARK – MORNING
  • SOBRIETY – MONTGOMERY COUNTY – HWY 79 N. OF HAMPTON STATION RD – EVENING
  • SOBRIETY – ROBERTSON COUNTY – HWY 41 @ RIDGETOP – AFTERNOON
  • DL CHECKPOINT – STEWART COUNTY – HWY 49 @ LONG CREEK RD – EVENING

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