The Chattanooga Police Department and other area law enforcement agencies are partnering with the Tennessee Highway Safety Office (THSO) to increase impaired-driving enforcement from Dec. 1-31, surrounding the holiday season. The THSO’s statewide Booze It and Lose It campaign is part of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Drive Sober or Get Pulled Overnationwide mobilization.
Officials said, "Year to date, the Chattanooga Police Department has investigated 264 crashes involving impaired drivers resulting in 140 injuries and three fatalities. We, along with our area law enforcement partners, are appealing to our communities to be responsible when consuming alcohol during this holiday season. If you drink, be responsible by not driving; instead, call a taxi, Uber, Lyft, or a designated driver. Don’t become one of the statistics this holiday season."
"Drivers who are impaired are a danger not only to themselves, but to anyone they share the road with," said CPD Lieutenant Austin Garrett. "Starting today through the end of December you're going to see local police departments, THP, and dedicated DUI patrols across the city of Chattanooga, other municipalities and the County increasing enforcement efforts to prevent alcohol and drug impaired drivers from ruining their lives and the lives of others in our communities."
"In our efforts to educate the public and discourage impaired driving throughout this holiday season a static display will be used in high traffic areas around the city that illustrates the consequences of impaired driving. This display includes a Chattanooga Police Vehicle that was struck by a drunk driver and the THP "Nail It" car.
"We will also be deploying increased and deliberate enforcement to remove impaired drivers from our roadways. This will be accomplished through regular patrols and THSO grant funded overtime, deliberately placing dozens of officers on the roadways, looking for you, if you decide to drink and drive impaired.
Increased state and national messaging about the dangers of drunk driving, coupled with increased sobriety checkpoints and high visibility enforcement, aim to drastically reduce the number of drunk-driving crashes, injuries, and fatalities this year.
“We ask all Tennesseans to please drive safely this holiday season,” said THSO Director Vic Donoho. “In December 2016, more than 500 traffic crashes statewide involved a drunk driver. Our state and local law enforcement partners will be out in full force to secure Tennessee roadways. We want everyone to make it home safely, so please designate a sober driver.”
The consequences of a single DUI conviction for a first-time offender in the state of Tennessee may include costly fines, court costs, legal fees, jail time, mandatory drug and alcohol treatment, and/or the installation of an ignition interlock device in his/her vehicle.
The THSO provides grant funding to support the Chattanooga Police Department's increased enforcement efforts during the Booze It and Lose It holiday campaign. For more information about the THSO, visit www.tntrafficsafety.org.