The Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP) plans to increase patrols and utilize a variety of traffic-safety enforcement tools to reduce the number of serious injury and fatal crashes across the state during this year’s Memorial Day holiday period. THP will conduct saturation patrols, seat belt and sobriety checkpoints, as well as increased visibility on high-crash corridors throughout the summer to reduce serious injury and fatal crashes. The 2018 Memorial Day holiday period began at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, May 25, and concludes at midnight on Monday, May 28.
“Memorial Day typically signals the start of summer travel,” Colonel Tracy Trott said. “We will aggressively enforce impaired driving and seat belt laws this weekend and throughout the summer months. We will utilize all of our resources and partner with local and county law enforcement to give us the best opportunity for a safe Memorial Day weekend on Tennessee roadways.”
Last year, 17 people were killed in vehicular crashes during the Memorial Day weekend. Five (55%) of the nine occupant fatalities were not wearing safety restraints and seven (43%) of the traffic fatalities occurred in an alcohol-related crash. Four motorcycle riders were killed and one all-terrain vehicle rider died during last year’s Memorial Day holiday. Three pedestrians were also killed during that time.
“Our primary focus is to reduce the number of traffic fatalities across Tennessee,” Commissioner David W. Purkey said. “Our hope is that seat belt enforcement will help positively affect driver behavior and increase voluntary seat belt compliance across the state because we know that troopers rarely unbuckle a fatality.”
State troopers arrested 118 individuals on suspicion of DUI, and ticketed 1,582 motorists for violation of the seat belt law during last year’s Memorial Day holiday.