Don't Let Your Halloween Turn Into a Nightmare

Wednesday, October 25, 2006 | 07:00pm

Enforcement Blitz Planned to Catch Drunk Drivers

October 26, 2006

Nashville, Tennessee — More than 40 percent of the fatalities in motor vehicle crashes on Halloween night in 2005 involved a driver or motorcycle operator with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

The numbers in Tennessee are even more troubling. Last year during the Halloween weekend more than half the fatal crashes on Tennessee roadways were alcohol-related. During the period of 6 p.m. October 28 through midnight October 31, 2005 there were 17 fatal crashes on Tennessee roadways, nine of which were alcohol-related. During this same time period, the Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP) issued 53 DUI citations.

Today the Governor’s Highway Safety Office (GHSO) and the THP announced plans to partner in an aggressive crackdown on impaired drivers this Halloween weekend.

“Make no mistake, driving impaired is no accident, nor is it a victimless crime,” said THP Colonel Mike Walker. “One death due to a drunk driver is too many. If you’re caught over the limit this Halloween, you will be under arrest. No exceptions. No excuses.”

THP Troopers across the state will be out in force conducting sobriety checkpoints, saturation patrols and other activities this Halloween weekend in an effort to stop impaired drivers and save lives.

“Halloween should be a time for costumes, trick or treating with the kids and good family fun,” added Interim Department of Safety and TDOT Commissioner Gerald Nicely. “Unfortunately, impaired drivers have made Halloween a dangerous and deadly night on our roadways.”

Driving with a BAC of .08 or higher is illegal in every state. Still, many people choose to ignore the law. According to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report, more than 1.4 million people were arrested for driving under the influence during 2004. In 2005, nearly 13,000 people died in highway crashes involving a driver or a motorcycle operator with a BAC of .08 or higher, according to NHTSA.

“Drunk driving is not worth the risk. Not only do you risk killing yourself or someone else, the trauma and financial costs of a DUI can be significant,” said GHSO Director Kendell Poole. “DUI Violators often face jail time, loss of their driver license, higher insurance rates, big attorney fees, unpaid time away from work and dozens of other expenses.”

“Don’t let your Halloween turn into a nightmare,” Col. Walker said. “Troopers will be working across the state to keep drunk drivers off the road. So, if you Booze It you will Lose It this Halloween.”

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