NASHVILLE - The Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security announced Tuesday the Tennessee Highway Patrol investigated zero alcohol-related fatal accidents in the 16 counties chosen for “No Refusal” DUI enforcement efforts over the Labor Day holiday period.
Rutherford County led the incidents of DUI arrests with 21. McMinn County came in a close second with 18 and Campbell County placed third with 12.
Additionally, just one DUI suspect detained by the THP refused to take a blood alcohol level test in these enforcement counties and one search warrant was obtained for a blood sample under the new “No Refusal” law.
The enforcement effort was coordinated by the Tennessee Highway Patrol, along with the Governor’s Highway Safety Office (GHSO), local district attorneys, and various local and state law enforcement agencies.
“We believe awareness of the ‘No Refusal’ enforcement effort really served to deter people from getting behind the wheel while impaired. That is our main goal with this new law, to prevent tragedies caused by drinking and driving,” Commissioner Bill Gibbons said.
The “No Refusal” enforcement period started at 6 p.m., Friday, Aug. 31 and ran through 11:59 p.m., Monday, Sept. 3. This special DUI enforcement was effective in selected counties: Roane and Campbell (Knoxville District); McMinn and Meigs (Chattanooga District); Robertson and Rutherford (Nashville District); Shelby and Tipton (Memphis District); Jefferson and Sullivan (Fall Branch District); Cumberland and Warren (Cookeville District); Bedford and Lincoln (Lawrenceburg District); and Chester and Weakley (Jackson District). State and local officials conducted sobriety and driver license checkpoints, as well as saturation patrols, in those counties as well as in other parts of the state.
The “No Refusal” law, enacted this year by the General Assembly, allows law enforcement officials to seek search warrants for blood samples in cases involving suspected impaired drivers. Previously, a suspected impaired driver could refuse a blood alcohol content test and face charges of violating the implied consent law. This new law enables law enforcement to legally obtain blood samples by working with prosecutors and judges throughout the state during the warrant acquisition process.
The Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security’s (www.TN.Gov/safety) mission is 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.