Extra patrols planned for highways through New Year's Day

Extra patrols planned for highways through New Year's Day

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"When we talk about these holidays, a lot of people out on the roadways, a lot of people traveling, of course, we want to get the message out. Don't drink and drive," said Lt. Don Boshears of the Tennessee Highway Patrol. "When we talk about these holidays, a lot of people out on the roadways, a lot of people traveling, of course, we want to get the message out. Don't drink and drive," said Lt. Don Boshears of the Tennessee Highway Patrol.
Tennessee Highway Patrol says they're increasing patrols, especially on Kingston Pike, Pellissippi Parkway and Chapman Highway. Tennessee Highway Patrol says they're increasing patrols, especially on Kingston Pike, Pellissippi Parkway and Chapman Highway.

By MIKE KRAFCIK
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Law enforcement agencies will be stepping up holiday traffic patrols between Christmas and New Year's Eve.

During the 2011 holiday season, nine people were killed on Tennessee roadways in six fatal crashes.

Alcohol was involved in 66 percent of those crashes and four of the eight vehicle occupants killed were not wearing seat belts.

The Tennessee Highway Patrol has been out in full force since last week to remove impaired drivers and enforce seat belt laws. They'll continue these efforts through the new year.

"When we talk about these holidays, a lot of people out on the roadways, a lot of people traveling, of course, we want to get the message out. Don't drink and drive," said Lt. Don Boshears of the Tennessee Highway Patrol.

This year, 998 motorists died on Tennessee roadways. About one quarter of those are alcohol-related.

This holiday season THP is using saturation patrols, bar and tavern checks and sobriety checkpoints to reduce serious injuries and fatal crashes.

"We'll look at past data, past crash statistics, DUI risks," said Lt. Boshears. "Wherever we find the data that the those things are occurring the most is where we'll concentrate our efforts."

Starting on Friday, Knox and Sevier Counties will take part in the No Refusal Weekend. 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.

"You can't refuse," said Lt. Boshears. "He'll take all the probable cause, all the evidence he has before a magistrate judge and try to get a judge to sign a warrant for the blood."

This is Knox County's second No Refusal Weekend. The first was during the Fourth of July holiday, when there were 30 DUI arrests and six blood warrants issued.

"We have a four-person DUI unit and all of us are on call for a 12-hour shift to make sure we support our officers who are making saturation patrols and roadblocks," said Knox County Assistant District Attorney Sarah Keith.

During the last no refusal weekend, the Knox County District Attorney's office says the average blood alcohol level was .155, almost twice the legal limit.

Tennessee Highway Patrol says they're increasing patrols, especially on Kingston Pike, Pellissippi Parkway and Chapman Highway. Patrols are already underway and will continue through Jan. 2.

Knoxville police will begin New Year's enforcement Monday. It ends at midnight on Jan. 1.

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