Highway Patrol Plans 'No Refusal' DUI Enforcement - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Highway Patrol Plans 'No Refusal' DUI Enforcement

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – With just four days left in 2013 there has been an overall decrease in fatal car crashes on Tennessee's roads. That's why law enforcement is stepping up patrols in hopes of keeping it that way.

Drivers may overlook TDOT's digital message boards placed all over the interstate but if you pay attention you'll see it's keeping a morbid tally of how many people have died on Tennessee's roads.

"Those are not just numbers. Those are actual individuals," said Sgt. Bill Miller with the Tennessee Highway Patrol. "Those are people. Those are loved ones. Those are family members. Those are not statistics."

Individuals like Brandon Wilson and his girlfriend Deja Morris who both killed in a fiery crash on Interstate 24 in June while on their way to Bonnaroo. Their families are still riddled with grief.

Overall traffic deaths have decreased three percent when compared to the same time last year with just days to go until the New Year.

"If we have probable cause to believe that a driver is operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol… and/or drugs, we are going to seek out a search warrant with the local judicial system," Sgt. Miller explained. "(We will) take a search warrant for that blood and that blood will be taken."

It's part of a statewide campaign targeting specific counties where drivers will cannot refuse the blood test that determines sobriety. The special enforcement includes saturation patrols; bar and tavern checks; and checkpoints for seat belts, sobriety and driver's licenses. It begins at 6 p.m. Monday and ends at 11:59 p.m. Wednesday.

"We don't want another family to go through what the families on those overhead sign boards that people see everyday are going through."

Especially since Sgt. Miller says in most cases many of the crashes shouldn't have happened in the first place.

"A majority of those, I would venture to say 99 percent can be avoided.  Simply speeding, distracted driving, driving under the influence of alcohol and or drugs," Sgt. Miller said were the main contributing factors.

According to the Highway Patrol, nine people were killed in fatal crashes on Tennessee roadways during last year's 78-hour New Year's Eve holiday period. That's an increase from the six vehicular fatalities during the 2011-12 New Year's holiday.

(NewsChannel 5 and The Associated Press.)

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