Lights on for Life Kicks Off Holiday Lifesavers Weekend
NASHVILLE, Tenn., — The Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP) encourages motorists to participate in Lights on for Life Day on Friday, December 15th.
“On the rush hour commute and throughout the day Friday, we urge motorists to keep their head lights on to show their support for saving lives and reducing impaired driving,” said Department of Safety Interim Commissioner Gerald Nicely.
Lights on for Life Day is a symbolic observance designed to focus attention on the impaired driving issue. The day is also the kickoff for National Holiday Lifesavers Weekend. During the three-day crackdown (December 15-17), a special emphasis is being placed on DUI enforcement. Sobriety checkpoints and driver license checkpoints will be conducted in counties throughout the state this weekend and throughout the holidays.
America has shown record decreases in impaired driving in each of the past three years. Yet, tragically, impaired driving continues to kill thousands of people. “In 2005, 397 people were killed in alcohol or drug-related crashes in Tennessee. These are not accidents,” said THP Colonel Mike Walker. “They are violent crimes.”
Tennessee law allows fines of up to $1,500 and a maximum of 12 months in jail for first time DUI offenders. Multiple offenders can be sentenced to jail for up to six years and may be ordered to pay fines of as much as $15,000.
Impaired driving is not just a problem for law enforcement, courts or victims. It affects the entire community. In addition to the physical and emotional damage impaired drivers inflict through careless behavior, they also place a huge financial burden on the community.
“This weekend and throughout the holiday season, State Troopers will be out in force conducting sobriety checkpoints and saturation patrols to keep impaired drivers off the road,” warns Colonel Walker. National Holiday Lifesavers Weekend is part of Operation C.A.R.E. (Combined Accident Reduction Effort).
The Tennessee Department of Safety (www.tennessee.gov/safety) is responsible for ensuring the safety and general welfare of the traveling public. The department’s general areas of responsibility include law enforcement, safety education and motorist services including the issuance of driver licenses. The department and its highly trained staff of Troopers are responsible for safety on more than 15,000 miles of state and federal highways.
SAFE HOLIDAY DRIVING TIPS
Plan ahead - Whenever you plan on consuming alcohol, designate your sober driver before going out and give that person your keys;
If you are impaired, call a taxi, use mass transit or call a sober friend or family member to get you home safely;
Promptly report drunk drivers you see on the roadways to law enforcement;
Wearing your seat belt or using protective gear on your motorcycle is the best defense against an impaired driver;
And remember, Friends Don’t Let Friends Drive Drunk. If you know someone who is about to drive while impaired, take that person’s keys and make other arrangements to get him/her home safely.