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State troopers step up patrols for the holidays

Posted on Saturday, December 22, 2012 at 4:58 pm

NASHVILLE (AP) — The holiday season is one of the most dangerous times of the year for motorists due to an increase in impaired driving. That’s why Tennessee state troopers will be stepping up enforcement over the Christmas holidays.

According to the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security troopers, the increased enforcement begins just after midnight on Friday and runs through midnight on Tuesday, Dec. 25. It includes saturation patrols, bar and tavern checks, and driver license and sobriety checkpoints.

The Safety Department suggests that designating a sober driver and not letting friends drive drunk are simple ways to avoid a tragic crash or an arrest for impaired driving.

“The focus of this effort is to save lives,” Commissioner Bill Gibbons said. “I urge all Tennesseans and travelers passing through our state to obey the laws designed to keep them safe, through the holidays and whenever they get behind the wheel.”

During the 2011 Christmas holiday, nine people were killed on Tennessee roadways in six fatal crashes. Alcohol was involved in 66 percent of those crashes and four of the eight vehicle occupants killed were not wearing seat belts. There was also one pedestrian killed during the 96-hour holiday period.

“Unfortunately, impaired driving is a year-round problem. It becomes especially serious during the holidays as more people are traveling to and from parties and special gatherings,” THP Colonel Tracy Trott said. “Our goal is remove offenders from the roadways and protect the motoring public. We want this joyous time to be safe for everyone, and all of our traffic safety enforcement efforts are created with that goal in mind,” he added.

The holiday season is one of the deadliest and most dangerous times of the year due to an increase in impaired driving. The THP will utilize several enforcement tools, including saturation patrols, bar and tavern checks, and driver license and sobriety checkpoints to help reduce serious injury and fatal crashes over the holiday.

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