This Labor Day holiday weekend was the second time this year for the “No Refusal” enforcement campaign In Nashville. The “No Refusal” enforcement effort began on Friday at 6:00 p.m. and ended on Monday night at midnight, and is the latest strategy aimed at stopping impaired driving and reducing fatal crashes on Tennessee roadways. Law enforcement officials are allowed by the passing of a new law this year, to seek search warrants for blood samples in cases involving suspected impaired drivers.
Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security Commissioner Bill Gibbons stated that this enforcement will focus on sixteen counties where both impaired driving and fatal crashes have increased this year.
“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,” said Tennessee Highway Patrol Colonel Tracy Trott. Trott added that State Troopers would be aggressively seeking out violators and removing them from state roads.
In Tennessee, the number of alcohol-related motor vehicle crashes has increased by 8.7 percent through the first seven months of 2012, when compared to the same time frame last year. In 2011 for the first seven months of the year, there were 2,755 crashes involving impaired drivers, and this year there has been 2,995 crashes involving impaired drivers. The number of DUI arrests made by State Troopers has increased this year when compared to last year, as well. In 2011, troopers arrested 2,757 individuals for driving impaired from January 1 through August 13. This year, troopers have already arrested 3,557 individuals for impaired driving for the same time period, an increase of 29 percent.
As of August 28, 666 people have died on Tennessee roadways, which is an increase of 41 deaths compared to 625 fatalities at this same time last year.
The Governor’s Highway Safety Office Director Kendall Poole said, “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.”