The law allows law enforcement to seek search warrants for a blood sample if a person arrested for driving under the influence refuses to consent to one
State law enforcement will be out in force over the Fourth of July holiday weekend, looking for drunk drivers.
The Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security and the Tennessee Highway Patrol said Monday their increased enforcement will begin at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, July 3 and ending at 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, July 7.
During the campaign, they will operate under a "No Refusal" policy in several counties, which means law enforcement can seek search warrants for blood samples in cases involving suspected impaired drivers. The counties include Knox, Sevier, Cocke, and Cumberland Counties.
The state says 21 people died in 17 crashes on Tennessee roadways during the 2012 Fourth of July holiday period. That's a fatality rate of one death every six hours. Of the twenty-one people killed last year, 10 (47.6%) were alcohol related. Seven of the 18 (38.9%) vehicle occupants killed were not wearing safety restraints. Three motorcyclists also died during last year's July 4th holiday period.
"We are proud to again partner with various local law enforcement officials, prosecutors and judges across the state in a "No Refusal" enforcement campaign during the Fourth of July holiday period. Drunk driving is a threat to public safety, and this specialized enforcement gives us another tool to combat impaired driving and reduce fatal crashes in Tennessee," Commissioner Bill Gibbons said.
AAA expects more than 40 million travelers will journey 50 miles or more from home during the Independence Day holiday.
"State Troopers will aggressively seek out impaired drivers to ensure the safety of every Tennessee citizen and traveler during this holiday period," THP Colonel Tracy Trott said. "In addition, we also urge motorists to wear their safety restraints and make sure all occupants are buckled up. When it comes to traffic safety, no one is above the law or invincible. The dangers of impaired or distracted driving and not wearing a seat belt are real, and often times, deadly," he added.
During the first six months of 2013, the state says preliminary statistics show 100 people died in traffic crashes that involved alcohol (22.9%) and 46.3 percent of vehicle occupant deaths were unrestrained motorists. As of July 1, 2013, preliminary statistics indicate 436 have died on Tennessee roadways, a decrease of 70 deaths (-13.8%) compared to this same time last year.
As part of the THP's high visibility enforcement effort, you will likely see sobriety, driver's license and seat belt checkpoints, bar and tavern checks, and saturation patrols across the state.