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NTPD increasing impaired driving enforcement

The New Tazewell Police Department is partnering with the Tennessee Highway Safety Office to increase impaired driving enforcement from Dec. 13-31, surrounding the holiday season.

The THSO’s “Booze It and Lose It” campaign is part of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” nationwide mobilization.

The NTPD, in an effort to reduce impaired driving, will increase patrols and conduct checkpoints throughout the city of New Tazewell, according to a news release.

The THSO states on its website that “Driving under the influence (DUI), also known as driving while intoxicated (DWI), drunk driving, or impaired driving, is the crime of driving a motor vehicle while impaired by alcohol and/or drugs, including those prescribed by physicians.”

In Tennessee, a drunk driver’s level of intoxication is typically determined by the measurement of blood alcohol content (BAC). A BAC measurement of 0.08 percent defines the criminal offense, according to the THSO.

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.

According to NHTSA, in 2015 — the latest year for which data on fatalities is available — there were 958 motor vehicle fatalities in the state. Of those, an estimated 68 percent had no alcohol in their system, 300, or 31 percent, had a BAC (blood alcohol content) of .01 or over, 252, or 26 percent, had a BAC of .08 or over, and 162, or 17 percent, had a BAC of .15 or over.

There were 669 driver fatalities in 2015, according to the NHTSA statistics.

When drivers had a BAC of .08 or above, 26 percent of them died.

“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 or her vehicle, the release states.

The THSO provides grant funding to support the NTPD’s increased enforcement efforts during the “Booze It and Lose It” holiday campaign. For more information about the THSO, visit www.tntrafficsafety.org.