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THP Announces Labor Day ‘No Refusal’ DUI Enforcement

Press release from the Tennessee Department of Safety & Homeland Security; August 24, 2014:

NASHVILLE— The Tennessee Highway Patrol will conduct a “No Refusal” enforcement campaign during this year’s Labor Day holiday period. This special enforcement effort will begin at midnight on Friday, August 29 and conclude at 11:59 p.m. on Monday September 1.

The “No Refusal” legislation allows law enforcement officials to seek search warrants for blood samples in cases involving suspected impaired drivers.

“Law enforcement officials have another tool to utilize to deter impaired driving and reduce fatal crashes on Tennessee roadways by conducting ‘No Refusal’ enforcements,” THP Colonel Tracy Trott said. “We have chosen to implement this enforcement in each of the eight highway patrol districts, and with the help of various local law enforcement agencies across the state. The ultimate goal is remove drunk drivers from our roadways and to save lives,” he added.

State troopers will conduct “No Refusal” enforcement in the following counties: Union (Knoxville District); Hamilton and Marion (Chattanooga District); Montgomery (Nashville District); Shelby (Memphis District); Hawkins (Fall Branch District); Smith (Cookeville); Maury (Lawrenceburg); and Hardin County (Jackson District).

In addition to “No Refusal” enforcement, highway patrol personnel will also conduct driver’s license, sobriety and seat belt checkpoints, as well as saturation patrols and bar and tavern checks.

“Our district captains have created enforcement plans specific to their regions. So, there will be a variety of specialized enforcement during Labor Day, including distracted driving, commercial vehicle safety, and Move Over enforcement, for example. However, the priority is always on impaired driving and seat belt enforcement,” Trott said.

During the 2013 Labor Day holiday, 16 people were killed in 15 fatal crashes on Tennessee roadways. That’s up from the 13 vehicular fatalities in 2012. Last year, alcohol was involved in six (38%) of the fatal incidents, and six of the ten (60%) vehicle occupants killed were not wearing safety restraints. Four motorcyclists, one all-terrain vehicle rider and one pedestrian were also killed.

Preliminary figures indicate there have been 3,981 crashes involving alcohol-impaired drivers in Tennessee from January 1 through August 15, 2014. That is 339 fewer (7.8% decrease) than the 4,320 crashes during those same dates in 2013.

Seat belt usage is another contributing factor in crashes across the state. To date this year, 50 percent of vehicle occupants killed in crashes were not wearing safety restraints.

Colonel Trott also noted the number of DUI arrests made by State Troopers in 2014. Troopers have arrested 5,310 individuals for impaired driving from January 1 through August 15, 2014. In 2013, the number of arrests made during that time was 3,973. That’s a 34 percent increase during the same dates.

A list of the scheduled “No Refusal” and Labor Day enforcement checkpoints are HERE.

A 2013 Labor Day holiday statistical sheet is HERE.

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Press Releases

State Announces 2nd Round of ‘No Refusal’ Enforcement for Labor Day

Press release from the Tennessee Department of Safety & Homeland Security; August 30, 2012: 

NASHVILLE— Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security Commissioner Bill Gibbons and Tennessee Highway Patrol Colonel Tracy Trott today announced the department’s second “No Refusal” enforcement campaign at a joint press conference with the Governor’s Highway Safety Office (GHSO) and Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) in Nashville.

The “No Refusal” enforcement effort, beginning at 6 p.m. on Friday, August 31 and concluding at midnight on Monday, September 3, will also coincide with the Labor Day holiday weekend. “No Refusal” is the latest enforcement strategy aimed at deterring impaired driving and reducing fatal crashes on Tennessee roadways. The new law, passed this year by the General Assembly, allows law enforcement officials to seek search warrants for blood samples in cases involving suspected impaired drivers.

“There were five counties that participated in the first ‘No Refusal’ campaign, and zero fatalities were reported in those counties during the Fourth of July, 126-hour enforcement. Our congratulations go out to the law enforcement, prosecutors and judges that participated in the effort,” Commissioner Gibbons said. “We are proud to again partner with local and state officials and highway safety advocates, including the Governor’s Highway Safety Office and Mothers Against Drunk Driving, in an expanded 16-county ‘No Refusal’ weekend,” Commissioner Gibbons added.

This targeted 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 Roane and Campbell (Knoxville District); McMinn and Meigs (Chattanooga District); Robertson and Rutherford (Nashville District); Shelby and Tipton (Memphis District); Jefferson and Sullivan (Fall Branch District); Cumberland and Warren (Cookeville District); Bedford and Lincoln (Lawrenceburg District); and Chester and Weakley (Jackson District).

“Drunk driving continues to threaten public safety, and we refuse to stand by and give offenders the opportunity to claim innocent lives on our roadways,” Col. Trott said. “Our State Troopers will aggressively seek out violators and remove them from state roads. We look forward to working with our local law enforcement partners in the 16 selected counties across the state during this ‘No Refusal’ enforcement.”

In Tennessee, the preliminary number of alcohol-related crashes has increased 8.7 percent through the first seven months of 2012, compared to that same time period last year. During that time, there were 2,995 crashes involving impaired drivers. That is 240 more than the 2,755 crashes during those same dates in 2011.

Colonel Trott also noted the number of DUI arrests made by State Troopers in 2012. They arrested 3,557 individuals for impaired driving from January 1 through August 13, 2012. In 2011, the number of arrests made during that time was 2,757. That’s a 29 percent increase during the same dates.

In addition to the ‘No Refusal’ program, motorists can also expect sobriety checkpoints and saturation patrols in other counties across the state for routine holiday enforcement.

During the 2011 Labor Day holiday, 12 people were killed in 11 fatal crashes on Tennessee roadways. That’s up from the 10 vehicular fatalities in 2010. Last year, alcohol was involved in two of the fatalities, and 40 percent of the vehicle occupants killed was not wearing safety restraints. Two motorcyclists were also killed during the 78-hour holiday period.

“Alcohol and seat belt usage are contributing factors in too many crashes in our state. This year, 55 percent of vehicle occupants killed in crashes were not wearing safety restraints. Our collaborative effort this weekend is also the perfect time to remind all motorists and their passengers to buckle up,” GHSO Director Kendell Poole said.

As of August 28, 2012, preliminary statistics indicate 666 have died on Tennessee roadways, an increase of 41 deaths (6.6%) compared to 625 fatalities at this same time last year.

A list of the scheduled “No Refusal” and Labor Day enforcement checkpoints are attached. A 2011 Labor Day holiday statistical sheet also accompanies this release.

Attachment

2012 Labor Day No Refusal Checkpoints 

2011 Labor Day holiday statistics

Categories
Press Releases

Cops to Forcibly Extract Blood-Alcohol Samples from Suspected Drunk Drivers Over Fourth of July Holiday Weekend

Press release from the Department of Safety; July 2, 2012:  

NASHVILLE — Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security Commissioner Bill Gibbons and Tennessee Highway Patrol Colonel Tracy Trott today partnered with the Governor’s Highway Safety Office (GHSO) and various local and state officials to announce this weekend’s first-ever “No Refusal” enforcement campaign.

The “No Refusal” enforcement period begins at 6 p.m., Tuesday, July 3, and will end at midnight, Sunday, July 8. This special enforcement will take place in selected counties where impaired driving and fatal crashes have increased in 2012, specifically, Anderson, Bradley, Davidson, Maury and Warren Counties. State and local officials will also conduct sobriety checkpoints and saturation patrols in those counties as well as in other parts of the state.

The “No Refusal” law, enacted this year by the General Assembly, allows law enforcement officials to seek search warrants for blood samples in cases involving suspected impaired drivers. Previously, a suspected impaired driver could refuse a blood alcohol content test and face charges of violating the implied consent law. This new law enables law enforcement to legally obtain blood samples by working with prosecutors and judges throughout the state during the warrant acquisition process.

“An enforcement campaign such as this requires the coordination and cooperation between law enforcement, local and state officials, and hospitals and emergency services personnel from across the state,” Commissioner Bill Gibbons said. “The new law is an effective tool to hold impaired drivers accountable, but we hope as well that it will help deter people from driving under the influence in the first place,” Commissioner Gibbons added.

The preliminary number alcohol-related crashes on Tennessee roadways has increased 7.5 percent for the first six months of 2012, compared to the same time period last year. The THP reports 2,547 crashes involving impaired drivers in Tennessee from January 1 through June 30, 2012. That is 177 more than the 2,370 crashes during those same dates in 2011.

“It is my goal for the Tennessee Highway Patrol to do everything in its power to reduce alcohol-related fatalities and serious injury crashes on state highways and roads,” THP Colonel Tracy Trott said. “DUI enforcement has been a top priority for our agency over the last few years, and this new law will help keep drunk drivers off of the road.”

The “No Refusal” event also coincides with the state’s 2012 Fourth of July enforcement period, beginning at midnight, Wednesday, July 4 and ending at 11:59 p.m., Sunday, July 8. During the 2011 Fourth of July holiday weekend, eight people died in seven crashes on Tennessee roadways. That’s the lowest number of deaths in a 96-hour Fourth of July period on record, yielding a fatality rate of one death every 12 hours. Of the seven vehicle occupants killed last year, five (71.4%) were not wearing seatbelts. One motorcyclist also died during last year’s July 4th holiday weekend. Four of the deaths, or 50 percent, occurred in alcohol-related crashes.

During the 2010 Fourth of July weekend, 392 people were killed in vehicular crashes nationwide. Of those fatalities, 39 percent were in crashes that involved at least one driver or motorcycle operator with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 higher.

Impaired-driving crashes killed 10,228 people nationwide in 2010, accounting for 31 percent of all traffic-related deaths in the United States.

In Tennessee, 946 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes in 2011. Preliminary statistics indicate 250 people were killed in traffic crashes in 2011 that involved alcohol (26.4%).

“Impaired drivers account for approximately 30 percent of our state’s fatalities,” GHSO Director Kendell Poole said. “With the help of this new legislation, education, and enforcement efforts by our state and local law enforcement partners across the state, we can reduce that number and help save lives in Tennessee.”

As of July 2, preliminary statistics indicate 497 people have died on Tennessee roadways, an increase of 34 deaths compared to 463 fatalities at this same time in 2011.

“I am extremely concerned about the number of fatalities occurring on Tennessee roadways, and alcohol is a contributing factor in too many of these crashes,” TDOT Commissioner John Schroer said. “Whether it’s displaying the fatality information on our message boards or educating the public about the new No Refusal law, awareness is key in making our roads safer.”

A list of scheduled sobriety and driver license checkpoints for the “No Refusal” campaign and Fourth of July Holiday period can be found here.  Statistical data for 2011 Fourth of July holiday period is here.