NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security on Wednesday partnered with various state and local agencies to conduct Operation Safe Highways, a statewide safety enforcement and awareness exercise to help make Tennessee safer for motorists. Both the Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP) and the Office of Homeland Security organized the enhanced enforcement effort that incorporated a “team approach” to inspect commercial vehicles travelling to and throughout Tennessee.
Operation Safe Highways was conducted with assistance from the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA) and local sheriffs and police departments. Enhanced inspection efforts were carried out at six Department of Safety and Homeland Security scale complexes, including:
- Robertson County Scale Complex on I-65, just south of the Kentucky border;
- Coffee County Scale Complex on I-24 near Manchester;
- Knox County Scale Complex on I-40 in Knoxville near the I-75 interchange;
- Greene County Scale Complex on I-81 near Greenville;
- Haywood County Scale Complex on I-40 near Brownsville; and
- Giles County Scale Complex on I-65, just north of the Alabama border.
In addition to the routine inspection of commercial vehicles at the scale complexes, state troopers and other law enforcement officers also looked for seat belt violations, suspected drug or human trafficking and other Illegal activities, and hauling dangerous materials. Various units within the THP, including Interdiction Plus troopers and K-9 units, participated in Operation Safe Highways.
“While the primary focus of Operation Safe Highways is enforcement, the other key element is creating awareness. We want the trucking industry to know it can help play an important role in ensuring the safety of the motoring public in Tennessee,” Commissioner Bill Gibbons said.
State troopers informed commercial vehicle operators on the signs of suspicious activity and encouraged trucking industry professionals to be on the lookout for this type of behavior while on the road. Troopers distributed printed educational information to truck drivers, who have a unique perspective and can be key allies in the fight against crime in Tennessee. This information included important phone numbers to law enforcement across the state, and reminded commercial vehicle operators if they see something, to say something.
Operation Safe Highways was not based on any specific threat. During the four-hour operation, 12,646 commercial vehicles were inspected statewide and troopers issued 88 commercial vehicle citations, including 16 for registration violations, 14 overweight citations, and eight defective vehicle tickets. Additionally, 42 commercial vehicles and 16 commercial vehicle drivers were placed out of service.
The Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security’s (www.TN.Gov/safety) mission is 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.