THP Steps Up Enforcement For St. Patrick ’s Day Weekend

Nashville, Tennessee (News Release) - The Tennessee Highway Patrol will be out in force this St. Patrick’s Day Weekend with increased patrols and sobriety and driver license checkpoints across the state.

“Once again, St. Patrick’s Day falls on a weekend at a time when sports fans are beginning the annual ritual of March Madness associated with the NCAA basketball tournament,” reminds Department of Safety Commissioner David Mitchell. “While we know this weekend is considered a time of celebrating the Irish heritage, the Tennessee Highway Patrol reminds everyone to act responsibly and use a designated driver or sober friend to get you home from the celebration.”

Last year, one person was killed in one fatal crash during the St. Patrick’s Day weekend. That was a significant decrease from six fatalities in five fatal crashes in 2005. Four of the five fatal crashes in 2005 involved alcohol. Statistics for 2000-2006 St. Patrick’s Day Holiday are attached. Experts say one of the best defenses against an impaired driver is wearing safety restraints.

“Impaired driving is no accident,” stresses Highway Patrol Commander Mike Walker, “nor is it a victimless crime. If you catch a buzz, chances are you’re too drunk to drive, so don’t risk it. Catch a cab or call a friend. Enjoy this St. Patrick’s Day, but don’t test your luck.”

A driver convicted of DUI can face up to 48 hours in jail and the loss of driving privileges for up to a year for a first offense. The associated costs of driving impaired also include attorney fees, court costs, reinstatement fees and higher insurance premiums. There’s also the risk of paying the worst cost of all—your life or the life of someone else.

Remember, “Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving.” The legal level of intoxication in Tennessee is .08.