The Tennessee Highway Patrol reminded motorists to buckle up and drive sober during upcoming St. Patrick’s Day holiday. State troopers will utilize traffic safety enforcement tools, such as saturation patrols and sobriety and seat belt checkpoints, in an effort to reduce serious injury crashes and fatal wrecks during this popular 48-hour holiday period.
The 2014 St. Patrick’s Day holiday period will begin at midnight, Sunday, and end at 11:59 p.m., Monday. However, THP personnel have enforcement activities planned throughout the weekend, starting on Friday.
Last year, 13 people died in vehicular crashes during the 72-hour St. Patty’s Day holiday period. Of the 13 fatalities, six were vehicle occupants and four (66.7 percent) were not wearing safety restraints. Five of the vehicular deaths were motorcycle riders and two were all-terrain vehicle occupants. Four of the fatalities (30.8 percent) occurred in an alcohol-related crash.
“We have a responsibility to help ensure the public’s safety, and we hope our visibility and enforcement techniques will encourage motorists to obey traffic laws, specifically, wearing your seat belt. We can prevent many senseless deaths if people would just buckle up,” THP Colonel Tracy Trott said. “State troopers will also aggressively seek out drunk or distracted drivers this holiday weekend,” he added.
During last year’s St. Patrick’s Day 72-hour enforcement period, the THP made 72 impaired driving arrests statewide. Since Jan. 1, state troopers have arrested 1,535 DUI violators, a 38.2 percent increase from the 1,111 arrests made at this same time a year ago.
In 2014, preliminary statistics indicate that 158 people have died on Tennessee roadways, compared to 164 fatalities during the same time period in 2013.
Scheduled checkpoints for the St. Patrick’s Day Holiday are attached, as well as statistical data for St. Patrick’s Day 2013.
ST. PATRICK’S DAY DRIVING TIPS:
Plan Ahead. If you plan to drink, arrange a safe way home before the festivities begin.
Before drinking, designate a sober driver and give that person your keys.
If you’re impaired, call a taxi, use public transportation, or call a sober friend or family member to get you home safely.
Use the local Sober Ride program.
If you see a drunk driver on the road, promptly contact your local law enforcement agency or dial *THP.
Remember, Friends Don’t Let Friends Drive Drunk. If you or someone who is about to ride with someone who is impaired, take their keys and help them make other arrangements to get to their destination safely.
And remember, the tragedies and costs of driving drunk are serious and real. Not only do you risk killing yourself or someone else, but the trauma and financial costs of a crash or an arrest for drunk driving are significant.
For more information on the consequences of impaired driving in Tennessee, visit http://tn.gov/safety/duioutline.htm.