Press Releases

THP Announces ‘No Refusal’ Enforcement for Labor Day Weekend

Press release from the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security; August 27, 2013:

NASHVILLE-— Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security Commissioner Bill Gibbons and Tennessee Highway Patrol Colonel Tracy Trott today announced plans for a “No Refusal” enforcement campaign during the Labor Day holiday weekend. This special enforcement will begin at 6 p.m. on Friday, August 30 and conclude at 11:59 p.m. on Monday, September 2.

The “No Refusal” enforcement will be conducted in 11 counties 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 ultimate goal is to save lives on Tennessee roadways. This targeted ‘No Refusal’ enforcement gives law enforcement and prosecutors another tool to hold drunk drivers accountable,” Commissioner Gibbons said.

The participating “No Refusal” counties include Roane (Knoxville District); Marion, McMinn, Meigs and Sequatchie (Chattanooga District); Rutherford (Nashville District); Fayette (Memphis District); Carter (Fall Branch District); Putnam (Cookeville District); Giles (Lawrenceburg District); and Henry County (Jackson District).

During the 2012 Labor Day holiday, 12 people were killed in 11 fatal crashes on Tennessee roadways. That’s the same as the 11 vehicular fatalities in 2010. Last year, alcohol was involved in two of the fatalities, and 64 percent of vehicle occupants killed were not wearing safety restraints.

“DUI is one of the categories targeted throughout the year and especially during the holidays,” Colonel Trott said. “During this ‘No Refusal’ campaign, we will focus our resources on specific areas and high-crash corridors across the state. Our high-visibility enforcement effort, which includes saturation patrols, bar and tavern checks and sobriety checkpoints, will help remove impaired drivers from the Tennessee roadways.”

Colonel Trott also noted the number of DUI arrests made by State Troopers in 2013. Troopers have arrested 3,728 individuals for impaired driving from January 1 through August 24, 2013. In 2012, the number of arrests made during that time was 3,414. That’s a nine percent increase during the same dates.

In Tennessee, the preliminary number of alcohol-related crashes has decreased 9.2 percent through the first seven months of 2013, compared to that same time period last year. From January through July of 2013, there have been 3,904 crashes involving impaired drivers. That is 361 fewer than the 4,265 crashes during those same dates in 2012.

Seat belt usage is another contributing factor in crashes across the state. To date this year, 49 percent of vehicle occupants killed in crashes were not wearing safety restraints.

Overall, as of August 27, 2013, preliminary statistics indicate 630 people have died on Tennessee roadways, a decrease of nearly eight percent compared to the 684 fatalities at this same time last year.

A list of the scheduled “No Refusal” and Labor Day enforcement checkpoints are attached. A 2013 Labor Day holiday statistical sheet also accompanies this release.

The Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security’s (www.TN.Gov/safety) mission is to ensure that our state is a safe, secure place in which to live, work and travel; enforce the law with integrity; and provide customer-focused services professionally and efficiently.

Labor Day Weekend “No Refusal” checkpoints.
Labor Day 2012 Statistical FatalityReport.

Press Releases

THP Announces 14% Decline in Traffic Fatalities for 2013

Press release from the Tennessee Department of Safety & Homeland Security; July 8, 2013:

NASHVILLE — Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP) Colonel Tracy Trott today announced the preliminary number of traffic fatalities on state roadways have decreased by nearly 14 percent (13.8%) for the first six months of 2013, compared to the same time period in 2012. The THP reported 436 people died in traffic crashes in Tennessee from January 1 through June 30, 2013. That is 70 fewer than the 506 vehicular fatalities that occurred during the same dates in 2012. Please note these figures include vehicular fatalities reported by all law enforcement agencies across the state.

Colonel Trott also noted a 10.7 percent decline in alcohol-related crashes investigated by the THP. State Troopers worked 975 impaired driving accidents from January 1 through June 30, 2013, a drop from the 1,092 crashes involving alcohol the previous year during the same time frame.

“DUI enforcement has become one of our agency’s top priorities in the last few years. We have arrested 3,151 individuals on suspicion of impaired driving during the first six months of this year – a 9.8 percent increase from the 2,870 DUI arrests made the first half of 2012,” Colonel Trott said. “Each time we remove a drunk driver from our roadways, we reduce the chance of a serious injury or fatal crash occurring,” he added.

“The efforts of the Tennessee Highway Patrol is evident in the data produced on the roadways,” Department of Safety and Homeland Security Bill Commissioner said. “We are encouraged by the reduction of crashes investigated, specifically injury and alcohol-related across the state. Our hope is to continue this trend and keep the motoring public safe in Tennessee.”

THP has also placed a greater emphasis on seat belt enforcement in 2013. As of June 30, 2013, State Troopers have issued 37,191 seat belt citations in Tennessee. That’s 14,000 more seat belt citations or a 62.3 percent increase than those issued during the first six months of 2012. Colonel Trott believes the seat belt enforcement has resulted in a 31.2 percent decline in the number of unrestrained fatalities across the state.

A summary of THP’s six month performance measures are listed below. Statistics for the recent Fourth of July holiday period will be released at a later date.

THP Statewide Six-Month Performance Measures

January 1 – June 30, 2013

Performance Measure                                                 2012            2013

All Crashes Investigated                                          12,381          12,013

Injury Crashes Investigated                                     4,841            4,370

Alcohol Impaired Crashes                                        1,092              975

Traffic Fatalities                                                             506              436

DUI Arrests                                                                     2,870            3,151

Total Citations                                                          179,259        196,716

Seat Belt Citations                                                      22,911           37,191

Commercial Motor Vehicle Inspections           41,286          44,462

Press Releases

Highway Safety, Patrol to ‘Crack Down’ On Drivers Through Thanksgiving Weekend

State of Tennessee News Release; Nov. 18, 2011:

Enforcement Campaign Targets Tennessee Roadways through Thanksgiving Weekend

Nashville, TN – Tennessee drivers beware. The Governor’s Highway Safety Office (GHSO) is teaming with the Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP) and local law enforcement agencies all across the state beginning today through the busy Thanksgiving travel season to crack down on traffic safety violations.

State and local law enforcement will be out in force to remind all drivers and passengers to never drink and drive, always buckle up, obey the speed limit, and eliminate all distractions inside their vehicles while driving.

This special enforcement crackdown is part of the state’s new “More Cops. More Stops.” campaign, which will focus on saving lives on Tennessee’s roadways.

“Unfortunately, the holiday season brings a higher number of injuries and fatalities on Tennessee roadways,” said Tennessee Department of Transportation Commissioner John Schroer. “Many of those tragedies could be prevented by obeying basic highway safety laws. Over the next several days, drivers can expect ‘More Cops and More Stops’ across the state as we try to keep everyone safe this Thanksgiving.”

Sixty-nine percent of 18 to 34 year old passenger vehicle occupants killed in Tennessee crashes in 2009 were NOT wearing their seat belts at the time of the crash.

“Not wearing your seat belt will get you a ticket, but we will also be cracking down on speeding and distracted driving, and especially on anyone drinking and driving,” said THP Colonel Tracy Trott.

Nearly one-third of those killed on Tennessee’s highways in 2009 involved drivers or motorcycle operators with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or above at the time of the deadly crash.

Tennessee is one of only two states partnering with the U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on this important national demonstration project. The ‘More Cops. More Stops.’ project will test the effectiveness of a new combined high visibility enforcement campaign designed to reduce drunk driving, boost seat belt use, and crack down on speeding and distracted driving, particularly among young adult males. Research and fatal crash statistics show that young adult males are most likely to practice high-risk behaviors while driving, such as not wearing seat belts and/or drinking and driving.

“Impaired driving will not be tolerated. There will be no warnings or excuses. If you drive drunk, you will be stopped and you will be arrested,” said Director Kendell Poole, GHSO. “But speeding, distracted driving and failing to wear your seat belt will also cost you. Please help us get the word out this Thanksgiving season. During the ‘More Cops. More Stops.’ campaign, we will be out in force to help save more lives on Tennessee’s roadways.”


Featured Liberty and Justice NewsTracker

VIDEO: State Law Enforcement Officials Defend ‘Occupy Nashville’ Arrests

Safety Commissioner Bill Gibbons defended the predawn arrests of 29 Occupy Nashville protesters on Legislative Plaza Wednesday, saying the protesters had plenty of time to pack up and go home.

Gibbons made the comments at a press conference Wednesday morning, adding he decided it was best to make the arrest in the 3 o’clock hour to minimize public disturbance and to give protesters hours to leave the premises.

“We respect and support the right to peacefully protest. We’re simply urging those who want to engage in peaceful protests to adhere to the reasonable policies that have been issued by the Department of General Services. If they choose not to, then it’s our responsibility to take the appropriate enforcement action and we will do so,” said Gibbons.

The commissioner was joined by Tennessee Highway Patrol Col. Tracy Trott, who said the troopers making the arrest acted with “incredible restraint.”

Both officials said it is the department’s job to enforce the policies written by the Dept. of General Services and deferred explanation of the policy to that department.

The protesters were issued misdemeanor citations for criminal trespassing, which is a class C misdemeanor. They were released just before 9 a.m.  and await a Nov. 18 court date with the Davidson County General Sessions Court.

Protesters with the Occupy Nashville movement say they plan to meet in a General Assembly at 7 p.m. Friday to determine whether they will remain at the Legislative Plaza location or if they will move to space by the courthouse down the street.

Press Releases

State Cops: This Year’s Super Bowl Weekend Traffic Fatalities Down from 2010

Press Release from the Tennessee Department of Safety; Feb. 11, 2011:

NASHVILLE — Preliminary 2011 Super Bowl weekend traffic fatalities have declined significantly from a year ago with four people killed on Tennessee roadways during the unofficial holiday period. Last year’s Super Bowl weekend resulted in 10 traffic fatalities in the state.

The 2011 54-hour Super Bowl period ran from 6 p.m., Friday, February 4 through midnight, Sunday, February 6. According to initial reports, there were four fatal crashes, including a pedestrian and a motorcyclist fatality. Three of the fatalities were alcohol-related and two vehicle occupants killed were not wearing a seat belt.

“If preliminary reports stand up, the decline in fatalities during this year’s Super Bowl is encouraging,” said Tennessee Highway Patrol Colonel Tracy Trott. “However, it’s disheartening to learn that three of the four fatalities were alcohol-related. We constantly educate and stress the consequences of drinking and driving. The fact that some people still don’t get it…is tragic.”

Over the weekend, State Troopers conducted more than 50 sobriety and driver license checkpoints across the state. Forty-five people were arrested for driving under the influence. Troopers issued more than 2,600 citations, including 901 for speeding and more than 250 for seat belt and child seat violations.

Overall, fatal crashes are down in Tennessee this year. To date, there have been 70 traffic fatalities, a decline of 27 from this time a year ago.

A preliminary holiday statistical report, including the locations of where the fatal crashes occurred over the 2011 Super Bowl holiday period, accompanies this release, as well as THP’s Super Bowl Enforcement Activity Report. Please note the official traffic fatality count may rise due to delays in reporting from municipalities and classification of traffic fatalities.

The Tennessee Department of Safety’s 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.