State troopers out in full force to save lives this Christmas

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- The Tennessee Dept. of Safety and Homeland Security will be out in force over the weekend, hoping to make sure you have a safe Christmas. The agency announced that, starting Friday, state troopers will be on the lookout for impaired drivers and folks not wearing their seat belts.

“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,” Trott added.

The enforcement period is scheduled to last through the end of Christmas Day. (click the attached document for a full list of checkpoints)

According to agency statistics, nine people were killed last year over the Christmas holiday. Out of the six fatal wrecks, alcohol was involved in two-thirds of them and half of the victims who were in vehicles at the time weren't wearing their seat belts. One pedestrian was killed over the four-day stretch.

“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.”

Designating a sober driver and not letting friends drive drunk are just two of the several simple steps to help avoid a tragic crash or an arrest for impaired driving. Other important tips include:

• Plan ahead: Whenever you plan on consuming alcohol, designate your sober driver before going out and give that person your keys;
• If you’re impaired, call a taxi, use mass transit or call a sober friend or family member to get you home safely;
• Promptly report drunk drivers you see on the roadways to the Tennessee Highway Patrol by dialing *THP;
• Wearing your seat belt or using protective gear on your motorcycle is your best defense against an impaired driver;
• And remember, Friends Don’t Let Friends Drive Drunk. If you know someone who is about to drive or ride while impaired, take their keys and help them make other arrangements to get to where they are going safely.

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