The Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP) will conduct a variety of traffic safety initiatives and utilize data-driven enforcement strategies during the Fourth of July holiday period to help reduce serious injury and fatal crashes across the state. The traffic safety campaign will begin at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, July 1 and conclude at midnight on Monday, July 4.
Seven people were killed in Tennessee during last year’s 72-hour Fourth of July holiday period compared to 2014’s seven vehicular fatalities. Of last year’s seven traffic fatalities, four were vehicle occupants and one was a motorcyclist. Two (50%) of the individuals killed were not wearing seat belts and two of the traffic deaths were alcohol-related.
“The goal of the Tennessee Highway Patrol is to prevent or reduce fatal traffic incidents,” Colonel Tracy Trott said. “We are stressing to our troopers that the strict enforcement of hazardous traffic violations such as speeding, seat belt enforcement, distracted driving and driving under the influence will help us to accomplish our goal of reducing fatalities,” he added.
THP District Captains will utilize predictive analytics to allocate manpower and target areas where the likelihood of alcohol-related, serious injury or fatal crashes may occur during the Fourth of July period. State troopers will also conduct saturation patrols and sobriety and seat belt checkpoints to help keep citizens safe. The following counties Roane, Hamilton, Rutherford, Washington, Putnam, Maury, Hardin County and Shelby have been designated as No Refusal counties due to increases in traffic related incidents or fatalities in 2016.
State troopers arrested 68 individuals statewide on suspicion of impaired driving and cited 1,785 motorists for violation of the seat belt law during last year’s Fourth of July period.
“We will utilize all of our resources to keep those traveling in Tennessee safe this Fourth of July holiday, but we cannot do it alone,” Commissioner Bill Gibbons said. “If a person chooses to drink then designate a sober driver. We urge you to be responsible and don’t drive impaired.”
During the first six months of 2016, preliminary statistics show that 45 percent of the state’s traffic fatalities were from unrestrained motorists and 16 percent were due to an alcohol-impaired driver.
As of June 28, preliminary statistics indicate 481 people have died on Tennessee roadways, an increase of 55 deaths compared to 426 fatalities at this same time in 2015.