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THP targeting drunk drivers this weekend

THP targeting drunk drivers this weekend

Posted: Friday, July 2, 2010 5:55 am
By: NASHVILLE

NASHVILLE — The Tennessee Highway Patrol said state troopers will be out in full force during the Fourth of July holiday weekend, cracking down on drunk drivers with an aggressive “Drunk Driving, Over the Limit, Under Arrest” enforcement blitz.
To ensure motorists are obeying the law, the THP will conduct sobriety and driver license checkpoints across the state in an effort to reduce fatalities and serious injury crashes.
The 78-hour holiday period begins at 6 p.m. Friday and will end at 11:59 p.m. Sunday.
“It doesn’t matter if you’ve only had one drink; it’s not worth the risk,” said Department of Safety Commissioner Dave Mitchell. “Buzzed driving is drunk driving. No matter your age; if you plan on drinking, you’d better find a safe and sober ride home or your chances of arrest are high.”
During the 2009 Fourth of July holiday weekend, 16 people died in 15 crashes on Tennessee roadways — a fatality rate of one death every four hours and 53 minutes. Five of the 10 people killed last year were vehicle occupants and were not wearing seat belts. Five motorcyclists also died during last year’s July 4th holiday weekend. Two of the deaths, or 12.5 percent, occurred in alcohol-related crashes.
“Too many people still fail to understand the severity or the consequences behind driving impaired. It is not an accident, nor is it a victimless crime,” THP Col. Mike Walker said. “It’s vitally important that we bring this tragic situation to an end.”
In 2008, national statistics indicate 32 percent of all drivers involved in traffic-related crashes during the July 4th holiday period had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher, the legal limit in all states.
Drunk driving is one of America’s deadliest problems. Nationwide in 2008, 37,261 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes.  Out of that number, 11,733 people were killed in traffic crashes that involved at least one driver or motorcycle rider with a BAC of .08 or higher.
In Tennessee in 2009, 989 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes. There were 136 people who were killed in traffic crashes that involved at least one driver or motorcycle rider with a BAC of .08 or higher.
Alcohol plays a big role in motorcycle fatalities too. Forty-three percent of the 2,291 motorcycle riders who were killed in single-vehicle crashes nationwide in 2008 had BAC levels of .08 or higher, as well as 64 percent of nighttime weekend fatalities. In fatal crashes for 2008, a higher percent of motorcycle riders had BAC levels of .08 or higher than any other type of vehicle driver. Fourteen of the 120 motorcycle riders who were killed in Tennessee in 2009 had BAC levels of .08 or higher.
“It’s obvious to recognize someone who is not fit to drive home safely,” Walker said. “You don’t have to be ‘falling down drunk’ to be a threat to yourself or others on the road.”
In 2010, preliminary statistics indicate 477 people have died on Tennessee roadways — an increase of six deaths compared to 471 fatalities at this same time in 2009.
Published in The Messenger 7.1.10NASHVILLE — The Tennessee Highway Patrol said state troopers will be out in full force during the Fourth of July holiday weekend, cracking down on drunk drivers with an aggressive “Drunk Driving, Over the Limit, Under Arrest” enforcement blitz.
To ensure motorists are obeying the law, the THP will conduct sobriety and driver license checkpoints across the state in an effort to reduce fatalities and serious injury crashes.
The 78-hour holiday period begins at 6 p.m. Friday and will end at 11:59 p.m. Sunday.
“It doesn’t matter if you’ve only had one drink; it’s not worth the risk,” said Department of Safety Commissioner Dave Mitchell. “Buzzed driving is drunk driving. No matter your age; if you plan on drinking, you’d better find a safe and sober ride home or your chances of arrest are high.”
During the 2009 Fourth of July holiday weekend, 16 people died in 15 crashes on Tennessee roadways — a fatality rate of one death every four hours and 53 minutes. Five of the 10 people killed last year were vehicle occupants and were not wearing seat belts. Five motorcyclists also died during last year’s July 4th holiday weekend. Two of the deaths, or 12.5 percent, occurred in alcohol-related crashes.
“Too many people still fail to understand the severity or the consequences behind driving impaired. It is not an accident, nor is it a victimless crime,” THP Col. Mike Walker said. “It’s vitally important that we bring this tragic situation to an end.”
In 2008, national statistics indicate 32 percent of all drivers involved in traffic-related crashes during the July 4th holiday period had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher, the legal limit in all states.
Drunk driving is one of America’s deadliest problems. Nationwide in 2008, 37,261 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes.  Out of that number, 11,733 people were killed in traffic crashes that involved at least one driver or motorcycle rider with a BAC of .08 or higher.
In Tennessee in 2009, 989 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes. There were 136 people who were killed in traffic crashes that involved at least one driver or motorcycle rider with a BAC of .08 or higher.
Alcohol plays a big role in motorcycle fatalities too. Forty-three percent of the 2,291 motorcycle riders who were killed in single-vehicle crashes nationwide in 2008 had BAC levels of .08 or higher, as well as 64 percent of nighttime weekend fatalities. In fatal crashes for 2008, a higher percent of motorcycle riders had BAC levels of .08 or higher than any other type of vehicle driver. Fourteen of the 120 motorcycle riders who were killed in Tennessee in 2009 had BAC levels of .08 or higher.
“It’s obvious to recognize someone who is not fit to drive home safely,” Walker said. “You don’t have to be ‘falling down drunk’ to be a threat to yourself or others on the road.”
In 2010, preliminary statistics indicate 477 people have died on Tennessee roadways — an increase of six deaths compared to 471 fatalities at this same time in 2009.
Published in The Messenger 7.1.10

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