Tennessee Highway Patrol launches safe travel initiative

Published 2:53 pm Monday, November 22, 2021

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Increased patrols are planned during Thanksgiving holiday 

Commissioner Jeff Long of the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security (TDSOHS) and Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP) Colonel Matt Perry have joined multiple law enforcement partners to announce the “Tennessee Safe Travel Challenge” traffic safety initiative.

The Tennessee Safe Travel Challenge is planned for Wednesday, November 24, and Sunday, November 28. The challenge consists of increased patrols from the THP and our law enforcement partners across the state. Law enforcement will focus their attention along the I-40 corridor. I-40 spans the length of Tennessee, encompassing 455 miles, and runs 2,555 miles through eight states, including North Carolina, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California.  The THP will continue statewide enforcement on all Tennessee roadways during the holiday season.

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“Our mission is to prevent traffic deaths, one loss of life is never acceptable,” said Colonel Matt Perry. “Motorists can expect to see an increased presence of troopers during some of the busiest travel days of the Thanksgiving holiday. It is important that we all follow the rules of the road. We can prevent traffic-related injuries and deaths by driving the speed limit, buckling our seat belts, never driving distracted, and never driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.”

In 2020, there were 26 crashes on the Wednesday before, and 30 crashes on the Sunday after the Thanksgiving holiday on I-40.  One of the crashes was alcohol-related.  THP issued 2,209 speeding and 498 seat belt citations and arrested 111 individuals for impaired driving.

Over the 108-hour holiday period, there were six fatal crashes, three of the fatalities were alcohol-related, and three people killed were not wearing seat belts. Please see the attached THP 2020 Thanksgiving Final Holiday Report.

“Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on everything we have been blessed with,” said Commissioner Jeff Long.  “The Tennessee Highway Patrol will do everything in their power to ensure there’s not an empty seat at your family’s dinner table. We want our citizens and visitors to get to and from their destinations safely.”

“TDOT is proud to join our safety partners in this effort,” Commissioner Joe Galbato said. “I-40 is one of the most heavily traveled interstate corridors in the nation; that’s why our regional help trucks will be working throughout the holiday weekend to assist with incidents that may occur. And to further prevent congestion, we will not allow lane closures for Construction from Noon on Wednesday, November 24, through midnight, Sunday night, November 28.”

“The THSO encourages everyone to plan ahead for safety this Thanksgiving holiday,” said THSO Director Buddy Lewis. “Make sure you’re fully rested before traveling long distances. Take rest breaks, as needed. Don’t drive drowsy. Set your GPS and make phone calls in advance so you’re focused and hands-free for the drive. Always buckle up, and double-check your child passengers are properly restrained.”

During your travels across Tennessee, please dial *847 (*THP) if you require highway assistance.  This will connect you to a THP dispatcher.