The Tennessee Highway Patrol will enforce a "no refusal" traffic safety policy from New Year's Eve to Monday, January 4, 2016, in a effort the agency says will reduce the number of fatal crashes over the holiday.
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 license would be suspended.
This year, troopers will patrol 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 in a news release. "It is our intent to enforce traffic laws in order to keep Tennesseans safe. During this New Year's holiday, we hope you will enjoy your family and friends as you ring in the New Year. Please choose a sober driver to get home safely."
The "no refusal" enforcement will take place in the following counties: Knox, Hamilton, Davidson, Shelby, Washington, Putnam, Lawrence and Hardin.