THP sees jump in arrests and citations from 2011

THP sees jump in arrests and citations from 2011

Posted:
During this holiday period, THP made 16 DUI arrests and gave out hundreds of citations, which was up from the 2011 holiday season. During this holiday period, THP made 16 DUI arrests and gave out hundreds of citations, which was up from the 2011 holiday season.
"Wear your seat belts. We are still having over 60 percent of our fatalities of drivers and passengers in these vehicles who are not buckling up," said Sgt. Randall Martin. "Wear your seat belts. We are still having over 60 percent of our fatalities of drivers and passengers in these vehicles who are not buckling up," said Sgt. Randall Martin.

By STEPHANIE BEECKEN
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - While many returned to work for the first time Wednesday following the New Year's holiday, state troopers have been busy all week keeping the roads safe.

This holiday period was busy for the Tennessee Highway Patrol, with more arrests and citations this holiday season than last year.

Troopers say each year there seems to be more and more traffic on the roadways, so this holiday season they made sure to saturate East Tennessee with more law enforcement on the roadways.

They believe the increased presence and new programs are making the roads safer.

Officers were out in full force from Dec. 21 to Jan. 1.

Sgt. Randall Martin is a trooper with THP District 1, covering 11 counties in East Tennessee.

During this holiday period, THP made 16 DUI arrests and gave out hundreds of citations, which was up from the 2011 holiday season.

"Enforcement-wise was better. We had the people out on the roadway that we needed. We had partnerships with other organizations that we needed and when that happens we have good results," said Sgt. Martin.

In 2012 over the Christmas and New Year holiday, there were 16 DUI arrests, up from nine in 2011. There were 78 crashes with injuries, up from 62. There was one fatal crash each year and in 2012 there were 119 seat belt violations, nearly double the number from last year.

"Be defensive in your driving, wear your seat belts. We are still having over 60 percent of our fatalities of drivers and passengers in these vehicles who are not buckling up," said Sgt. Martin.

In 2012, law enforcement agencies like THP also started using the No Refusal program.

"No Refusal, we've only had a couple of troopers who have had to use it in this district," said Sgt. Martin.

The program allows troopers to obtain search warrants for blood samples from suspected impaired drivers who refuse breathalyzer tests.

"It is having to be used and it is useful," said Sgt. Martin.

Sgt. Martin says overhead billboards listing the number of fatalities on Tennessee roadways have been effective.

"It's not just a number on a board, it's a person. It's a brother, it's a mother, it's a sister, it's a child. Those are the numbers on the board. They are people and the awareness behind that needs to be increased to keep those numbers down," said Sgt. Martin.

Once the holiday numbers come in, the fatality count will start over. This year, TDOT says the fatality count will only be shown on Fridays to make sure the number doesn't lose its impact.

"I think it's a good tool. It's a good awareness tool," said Sgt. Martin.

Sgt. Martin says in 2013 troopers will continue to focus on cracking down on seat belt violations to try and reduce the number of fatal crashes. He also wants to remind people to slow down, drive defensively and pay attention to other drivers.

THP says going forward there will be more troopers on the roadways and that they have increased their hiring. They hope an increased presence will also help make the roads safer.

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