NASHVILLE – Tennessee Highway Patrol Col. Tracy Trott announced plans Thursday for a “no refusal” enforcement campaign during the New Year’s Eve holiday period.
This special enforcement will begin Monday at 6 p.m. and conclude Wednesday at 11:59 p.m.
The “No Refusal” enforcement will be conducted in one county in each of the eight THP districts across the state and is aimed at deterring impaired driving and reducing fatal crashes on Tennessee roadways. The “no refusal” legislation allows law enforcement officials to seek search warrants for blood samples in cases involving suspected impaired drivers.
The participating “no refusal” counties include Sevier in the Knoxville district; Grundy in the Chattanooga district; Wilson in the Nashville district; Tipton in the Memphis district; Washington in the Fall Branch district; Putnam in the Cookeville district; Maury in the Lawrenceburg district); and Benton County in the Jackson district.
In Wilson County, a “no refusal” sobriety checkpoint will be New Year’s Eve night at the Highway 265 intersection with John Hager Road.
“We will be out in force to help protect the motoring public during this festive holiday. It is our hope that citizens celebrate responsibly and don’t get behind the wheel after drinking. Drunk driving is the worst mistake you can ever make,” Trott said.
Nine people were killed in eight fatal crashes on Tennessee roadways during last year’s 78-hour New Year’s Eve holiday period. That’s an increase from the six vehicular fatalities during the 2011-12 New Year’s holiday. Last year, alcohol was involved in five of the nine or 55 percent of the fatalities, and 43 percent of vehicle occupants killed were not wearing safety restraints. Two pedestrians also died as a result of a traffic accident.
Trott also said the number of DUI arrests made by state troopers in 2013 increased. Troopers have arrested 6,180 individuals for impaired driving from Jan. 1 through Dec. 20. In 2012, the number of arrests made during that time was 5,558. That’s an 11-percent increase during the same dates.
In Tennessee, the preliminary number of alcohol-related crashes has decreased 3.7 percent in 2013, compared to that same time period last year. As of Dec. 20, there were 2,072 crashes involving impaired drivers. That is 80 fewer than the 2,152 crashes during those same dates in 2012.
The THP will conduct saturation patrols, seat belt, sobriety and driver’s license checkpoints and bar/tavern checks during the holiday.
Overall, as of Dec. 26, preliminary statistics indicate 973 people have died on Tennessee roadways, a decrease of 3 percent compared to the 1,007 fatalities at this same time last year.