Tennessee Highway Patrol Uses Grant Programs to Improve Safety
NASHVILLE---The Tennessee Highway Patrol will continue its commitment to provide increased enforcement, public awareness and reduce the loss of life and property on state roadways through grant programs in 2014. Funding was provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and distributed through the Governor’s Highway’s Safety Office (GHSO).
The Sober Up TN Program allows the THP to allocate additional hours for state troopers to patrol the interstates, conduct sobriety checkpoints, perform bar checks and educate the public on the dangers of drinking and driving.
State Troopers have utilized a data-driven approach to address alcohol-related crashes by targeting times and locations where these types of incidents are most prevalent. Analysis has revealed that the majority of impaired driving crashes occurred between the hours of 6 p.m. and 2 a.m., and a higher rate of alcohol-related wrecks occur on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Goals of the Sober Up TN Program include:
- Increasing the number of sobriety checkpoints;
- Enforcing DUI and alcohol-related offenses;
- Reducing fatalities where alcohol was indicated as a contributing factor;
- Facilitating community meetings to solicit citizen attendance and input and involve local agencies, District Attorney Generals, school and court officials and associated stakeholders.
The THP continues to target safety belt usage across the state. The BELTS program will provide funding to allow state troopers to enhance the current seat belt usage rate. Statistical data revealed that unrestrained fatalities are most likely to occur on Fridays and Saturdays than any other day of the week. Statistics also show that unrestrained drivers are most often killed between the hours of 7 p.m. and 6 a.m.
Goals of the BELTS Program include:
- Conducting seat belt checkpoints in each of the THP Districts (8) each month;
- Each district will participate in the twelve statewide seat belt blitzes scheduled;
- Reducing the number of unrestrained drivers in fatal and injury crashes by five percent;
- Increasing the seat belt usage rate by 2.5 percent.
Both grant programs run through September 30, 2014.
The Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security’s mission is (www.tennessee.gov/safety) to ensure the safety and general welfare of the public. The department encompasses the Tennessee Highway Patrol, Office of Homeland Security and Driver License Services. General areas of responsibility include law enforcement, safety education, motorist services and terrorism prevention.