Highway patrol gears up for holiday enforcement
Motorists can expect to see plenty of state troopers on the road this Memorial Day weekend.
The Tennessee Highway Patrol will be out in force looking for drivers who are breaking the law. More than 85 sobriety and driver’s license checkpoints are scheduled throughout the long holiday weekend in an effort to reduce fatalities and serious injury crashes in Tennessee.
The 2008 Memorial Day holiday period begins at 6 p.m. today and will end at 11:59 p.m. Monday.
“Memorial Day marks the beginning of the busy summer holiday travel season,” Department of Safety Commissioner Dave Mitchell said. “Throughout the holiday weekend and the rest of the summer, drivers will see more state troopers strictly enforcing seat belt laws, stopping speeders and arresting impaired drivers to make sure everyone reaches their destinations safely.”
Twenty-one people were killed on Tennessee roadways during the 2007 Memorial Day holiday weekend, up from 16 deaths in 2006.
“That is a disturbing upward trend that we are dedicated to reversing this year,” THP Col. Mike Walker said. “Let this be your warning. If you speed, if you drive while under the influence, if you don’t buckle up, we will stop you. You’ll get a ticket or possibly spend the holiday in jail.”
Eight of the 12 people killed in automobile crashes last year were not wearing seat belts. Seven motorcyclists, one pedestrian and one ATV driver also died during the 78-hour Memorial Day holiday period in 2007.
Four of the deaths, or 21 percent, occurred in alcohol-related crashes.
Many Tennesseans will spend part of the holiday weekend on one of the many waterways in the state. That is why the THP is teaming up with the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency to remind boaters that drinking and operating a boat do not mix. Whether it’s DUI (driving under the influence) or BUI (boating under the influence), violating the law can lead to fines, probation and even jail time.
The THP is also participating in another enforcement campaign called Hands Across the Border during the Memorial Day holiday weekend and the following weekend. Tennessee state troopers will team up with law enforcement officers from other states along the border for this safety initiative.
Published in The Messenger 5.23.08