The Tennessee Highway Patrol is enforcing a "no refusal" traffic safety policy between New Year's Eve and January 4, 2016, in a effort the agency says will reduce the number of fatal crashes. A 2012 state law allows police to force drivers to have blood drawn.
Previously, drivers could decline such tests with the understanding that their drivers licence would be suspended.
This year, troopers are patrolling various checkpoints and bars, checking to ensure drivers are buckled up and sober. Officers will be allowed to seek search warrants, and any suspected impaired driver could be subject to blood sampling.
During the same holiday period in 2014, nine crashes killed nine people, including one pedestrian and child. Three of those deaths were alcohol-related, and four of the deceased were not wearing seatbelts.
This year, state troopers have arrested nearly 8,000 individuals for driving under the influence of alcohol.
"Our department will be working diligently to make sure Tennesseans arrive at their destinations safely," Commissioner Bill Gibbons said. "It is our intent to enforce traffic laws in order to keep Tennesseans safe."
The "no refusal" enforcement is take place in Knox, Hamilton, Davidson, Shelby, Washington, Putnam, Lawrence and Hardin.
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