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Tennessee Highway Patrol prepares Motorists for heavy presence this Thanksgiving Holiday

Posted By News Staff On Tuesday, November 20, 2012 @ 10:00 pm In News | No Comments

Tennessee State Troopers Will Strictly Enforce No Refusal Law

The Tennessee Highway PatrolNashville, TN – Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security Commissioner Bill Gibbons and the Tennessee Highway Patrol’s Colonel Tracy Trott are reminding citizens to expect a “No Refusal” and high-visibility, safe driving enforcement campaign during the 2012 Thanksgiving Holiday period. The “No Refusal” enforcement will begin at 6:00pm, Wednesday, November 21st and end at midnight, Sunday, November 25th.

The “No Refusal” law allows law enforcement officials to seek search warrants for blood samples in cases involving suspected impaired drivers. The goal is to deter impaired driving and reduce fatal crashes on Tennessee roadways.  The Thanksgiving Holiday marks the third “No Refusal” enforcement effort, following campaigns over the Fourth of July and Labor Day holiday periods.

Tennessee Highway Patrolman on a traffic stop. [1]

Tennessee Highway Patrolman on a traffic stop.

“Thanksgiving is the beginning of the holiday travel season for millions of Americans. In Tennessee, State Troopers, prosecutors and judges in 16 counties across the state have joined together to ensure drunk drivers are removed from the roadways and travelers get to their destination safely. We thank both the local and state officials in advance for their participation in this effort,” Commissioner Gibbons said.

This targeted “No Refusal” enforcement will focus on 16 counties where impaired driving and fatal crashes have increased in 2012. Two counties from each of the eight THP Districts will participate, including Monroe and Sevier (Knoxville District); Franklin and Grundy (Chattanooga District); Davidson and Sumner (Nashville District); Shelby and Fayette (Memphis District); Cocke and Washington (Fall Branch District); Clay and Putnam (Cookeville District); Lawrence and Maury (Lawrenceburg District); and Chester and Weakley (Jackson District).

Nine people lost their lives on Tennessee roadways during last year’s Thanksgiving Day Holiday period. That is a decrease of 43.8 percent over the total from 2010 (16). One of the seven vehicle occupants killed during the 2011 Thanksgiving Holiday weekend was not wearing safety restraints. Almost half (44.4) percent of those killed were alcohol-related deaths.

AAA predicts 43.6 million Americans will travel at least 50 miles from home over the holiday, up just 0.7 percent from last year. That compares with an increase of eight and six percent, respectively, in the last two years.

“We anticipate an increase in traffic through Tennessee during the holidays,” Colonel Trott said. “State Troopers will saturate the interstate systems and high-crash corridors and place an emphasis on impaired driving, seat belt usage and traffic law compliance. Our goal is to save lives.”

Although safety belt usage was measured at 83.7 percent in 2012, more than 56 percent of passenger vehicle occupants killed in Tennessee traffic crashes were not wearing a safety belt in 2011 (among known seatbelt usage).

In Tennessee, 53.5 percent of vehicular fatalities are from unrestrained vehicle occupants in 2012. Additionally, alcohol related crashes are on the rise in Tennessee. There have been over 5,000 alcohol crashes already this year. That’s an increase of 95 more impaired driving crashes (1.9%) than this time last year.

“Our statewide goal is to reduce the number of serious injury and fatal motor vehicle crashes throughout Tennessee,” Governor’s Highway Safety Office Director Kendell Poole said. “We’ve significantly increased our efforts by partnering with local law enforcement agencies, as well as state officials during enforcement campaigns such as ‘No Refusal.’ Everyone’s participation is crucial for the success of this campaign.”

As of November 19, preliminary statistics indicate that 890 people have died on Tennessee roadways in 2012, an increase of 50 deaths compared to 840 fatalities at this same time a year ago.

Statistics for the 2011 Thanksgiving Holiday period accompany this release, along with an attachment of sobriety and driver license checkpoints scheduled throughout the holiday weekend.

Thanksgiving Holiday Report for 2011

6:00pm, Wednesday, November 23rd – 11:59pm, Sunday, November 27th
102-Hour Holiday Period

Fatal Crashes: 9

  • Four crashes were single vehicle crashes; three crashes were multiple vehicle crashes.

Fatalities: 9

  • Four (44.4%) of the fatalities were alcohol-related.
  • Seven of the people killed were vehicle occupants.
  • One of the seven (14.3%) were not wearing safety restraints.
  • No child passengers requiring child restraint devices were killed.
  • One motorcyclist was killed.
  • One pedestrian was killed.

Fatality Log

NUMBER

ALCOHOL

DAY

TIME

COUNTY

HIGHWAY

KILLED

RELATED

1.

Friday

12:30 AM

Henry

County

1

Yes

2.

Friday

7:37 PM

Coffee

State Route

1

Yes

3.

Friday

Unknown

Madison

County

1

Yes

4.

Saturday

3:25 AM

Knox

County

1

Yes

5.

Saturday

11:49 PM

Knox

Interstate

1

No

6.

Sunday

12:42 AM

Davidson

City

1

No

7.

Sunday

10:14 AM

Henry

County

1

No

8.

Sunday

1:00 PM

Davidson

City

1

No

9.

Sunday

6:30 PM

Knox

State Route

1

No

 

Highest Deaths

In 1966, 34 people were killed in Tennessee traffic crashes during the 102-hour Thanksgiving holiday period, yielding a fatality rate of one death per 3.0 hours.

Lowest Deaths

In 1983, seven people were killed in Tennessee traffic crashes during the 102-hour Thanksgiving holiday period, yielding a fatality rate of one death per 14.6 hours.

About the Tennessee Department of Safety

The Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security’s mission is (www.TN.Gov/safety) [5] 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.


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