Tennessee Highway Patrol Launches I-40 Challenge Enforcement InitiativeIncreased patrols are planned during Thanksgiving holiday
NASHVILLE --- Today, Commissioner David W. Purkey of the Tennessee Department of Safety and
Homeland Security (TDSOHS) and Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP) Colonel Dereck R. Stewart joined
multiple law enforcement partners to announce the sixth annual "I-40 Challenge” traffic safety
“The I-40 Challenge” will consist of increased patrols from state police/ highway patrol agencies along
the I-40 corridor. In Tennessee, I-40 enforcement will increase on the busiest travel days during the
Thanksgiving holiday starting on Wednesday, November 21 continuing through Sunday, November
25. Troopers will be stationed every 20 miles along the corridor in Tennessee.
“The loss of life is never easy, especially when that loss could have been avoided,” Colonel Dereck R.
Stewart said. “The pain remains for a lifetime. That is why I am making a commitment to increase our
trooper presence not only on the I-40 corridor, but on all of our major Tennessee roadways. I am
very thankful to the other highway patrols and state and local agencies across the nation who have
also committed to this challenge. We encourage the public to make safe choices when traveling on
our Tennessee roadways. Stay off your phone and don’t drive distracted, wear your seatbelt, and do
not drive impaired.”
I-40 runs 2,555 miles through eight states including North Carolina, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma,
Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California. I-40 runs through Tennessee encompassing 455 miles.
In 2017, there were 35 crashes on the Wednesday before and 44 crashes on the Sunday after the
Thanksgiving holiday on I-40. Four of the crashes were alcohol-related. THP also issued 458 seat belt
citations and arrested 29 individuals for impaired driving. THP will continue state-wide enforcement
on all Tennessee roadways during the holiday season.
"The I-40 Challenge” has been a unique enforcement effort that spans from the East to the West
coast,” Commissioner David W. Purkey said. “This is a great opportunity to team-up with other state
highway patrol agencies in an effort to keep the I-40 interstate system safe.
“I-40 is one of the most heavily traveled interstate corridors in the nation. Tennessee Department of
Transportation (TDOT) is proud to join in this effort to save lives during the busy Thanksgiving travel
period,” Commissioner John Schroer said. “Drivers will see this message on our overhead signs across
the state and we will suspend all construction related lane closures beginning at noon on
Wednesday, November 21, until 6:00 a.m. Monday, November 26. Our regional help trucks will also
be working throughout the holiday weekend to assist with incidents that may occur along the
“The Tennessee Highway Safety Office (THSO) is committed to supporting the highway patrol in our
shared mission toward zero deaths,” THSO Director Vic Donoho said. “Our goal is to change driver
behavior by promoting voluntary compliance. We encourage all roadway users to exercise due care
and adhere to all traffic safety laws as we strive to prevent serious injury crashes and fatalities across
During your travels across Tennessee, if you require highway assistance please dial *847 (*THP). This
will connect you to a THP dispatcher.
The THP's checkpoint schedule during the 2018 Thanksgiving holiday may be viewed by visiting our
website. The 2017 statistical report is also attached.
The Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security’s (www.TN.Gov/safety) mission is to serve,
secure, and protect the people of Tennessee.