The City of Sevierville announced in a press release that the Sevierville Police Department (SPD) is partnering with the Tennessee Highway Safety Office (THSO) for its “Booze It and Lose It” campaign from August 17 to September 5, surrounding the Labor Day holiday.
Labor Day is observed on the first Monday in September.
SPD’s “Booze It and Lose It” campaign coincides with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” mobilization to increase impaired-driving enforcement nationwide, according to the release. The THSO provides grant funding to support SPD’s increased enforcement efforts during the campaign.
“If you’re going to be drinking, have a plan before going out – don’t drink and drive,” SPD Deputy Chief Sam Hinson said in a statement. “The risk to yourself and others is too great, and we will be doing our best to keep impaired drivers off the roads.”
The consequences of a single DUI conviction for a first-time offender in the state of Tennessee may include costly fines, court costs, legal fees, jail time, mandatory drug and alcohol treatment, and/or the installation of an ignition interlock device in his/her vehicle, according to the press release.
Increased state and national messaging about the dangers of drunk driving, coupled with increased sobriety checkpoints and high-visibility enforcement, aim to drastically reduce the number of drunk-driving crashes, injuries, and fatalities this year, the release notes.
One person is killed about every 52 minutes in a drunk-driving crash, totaling more than 10,000 lives lost each year, according to the NHTSA.
According to the National Safety Council (NSC), alcohol-impaired fatalities (involving blood-alcohol content of 0.08 g/dL or higher) in 2019 represented 28 percent of the total traffic fatalities nationwide. During the Labor Day period, 38 percent of the fatalities involved an alcohol-impaired driver, NSC notes.
The NHTSA recommends these simple tips for a safe Labor Day this year:
- Before drinking, plan a safe and sober ride home.
- Don’t let someone get behind the wheel if they’ve been drinking.
- If you’re hosting a gathering, make sure all your guests have a sober ride home.
- If you see an impaired driver, call 911. And always wear your seatbelt — it’s your best defense against impaired drivers.
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Kaitlin Housler is a reporter at The Tennessee Star and The Star News Network.
Photo “Police Stop” by Rusty Clark. CC BY 2.0.