NASHVILLE — The Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP) will conduct a high-visibility enforcement campaign during this year’s Fourth of July holiday period, beginning at 12:01 a.m. on Thursday, July 3 and ending at midnight on Sunday, July 6. State troopers will utilize a variety of traffic safety tools, such as driver’s license, sobriety and seat belt checkpoints, saturation patrols, and “No Refusal” enforcement, in an effort to reduce serious injury and fatal crashes on Tennessee roadways.
In 2013, 19 people were killed in 15 fatal crashes in Tennessee during the 102-hour holiday period. That’s down from 21 vehicular fatalities during the 2012 Fourth of July period. Of the 19 traffic fatalities last year, five (26.3%) were alcohol-related and 13 (86.7%) were not wearing safety restraints, including one child passenger. One all-terrain vehicle (ATV) rider also died during the holiday period.
“We urge all Tennesseans and visitors traveling through our state to wear their seat belts,” Colonel Tracy Trott said. “State troopers will aggressively seek out violators of the seat belt law and those driving recklessly or distracted. It’s our goal to get everyone to their destination safely,” he added.
During the first six months of 2014, preliminary statistics show that 52 percent of traffic fatalities were unrestrained motorists and 77 vehicular deaths (17.5 %) involved an alcohol-impaired driver.
Two counties in middle Tennessee, specifically Bedford and Rutherford Counties, have been designated “No Refusal” areas during the Fourth of July holiday period. “No Refusal” permits law enforcement officials to seek search warrants for blood samples in cases involving suspected impaired drivers. THP District Captains have selected those counties based on an increase in crashes, DUI-related, injury or fatal.
“One of our priorities as an agency is DUI enforcement,” Colonel Trott said. “The collective goal is to keep drunk drivers off the road and reduce alcohol-related fatalities on state roadways. State troopers will work hard throughout the holiday period to keep the roads safe.”
State troopers arrested 132 individuals statewide on suspicion of impaired driving during last year’s Fourth of July period.
As of July 1, preliminary statistics indicate 441 people have died on Tennessee roadways, a decrease of 17 deaths compared to 458 fatalities at this same time in 2013.