(WDEF) Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP) Colonel Tracy Trott Thursday announced plans for a “No Refusal” enforcement campaign during the New Year’s Eve holiday period. This special enforcement will begin at 6 p.m. on Monday, December 30 and conclude at 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday, January 1, 2014.
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 (Knoxville District); Grundy (Chattanooga District); Wilson (Nashville District); Tipton (Memphis District); Washington (Fall Branch District); Putnam (Cookeville District); Maury (Lawrenceburg District); and Benton County (Jackson District).
“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,” Colonel 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 (55%) fatalities, and 43 percent of vehicle occupants killed were not wearing safety restraints. Two pedestrians also died as a result of a traffic accident.
Colonel Trott also noted the number of DUI arrests made by State Troopers in 2013. Troopers have arrested 6,180 individuals for impaired driving from January 1 through December 20, 2013. 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 December 20, there have been 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 December 26, 2013, preliminary statistics indicate 973 people have died on Tennessee roadways, a decrease of three percent compared to the 1,007 fatalities at this same time last year. A list of the scheduled “No Refusal” enforcement checkpoints is attached.