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Chattanooga Police Investigator Tom Seiter, 46, works his traffic division duty on a motorcycle during the Friday afternoon rush in the 4000 block of Amnicola Highway. "From this seat, I'm sitting high enough to see the position of seat belts," Seiter said.
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Chattanooga Police Investigator Tom Seiter, 46, cites a speed violator during the Friday evening rush in the 4000 block of Amnicola Highway. "I had to write them for 64 (mph) in a 50," Seiter said.

January 2014-June 2015

1. Highway 153 and Hamill Road 37 wrecks, 21 injured

2. Gunbarrel and East Brainerd roads 33 wrecks, 4 injured

3. Shallowford Road and Lee Highway 27 wrecks, 6 injured

4. Northpoint Blvd. and Hixson Pike 27 wrecks, 5 injured

5. Gunbarrel and Shallowford Road 26 wrecks, 6 injured

Source: Chattanooga Police Department

polls here 3333

The swath of pavement where Highway 153 intersects with Hamill Road is the most dangerous intersection in Chattanooga, according to police statistics.

Vehicles crashed 37 times at that intersection, injuring 21 people, in the 18-month span from January 2014 through June 2015, according to police.

The next most dangerous spot in the city is the intersection of Gunbarrel and East Brainerd roads, where there were 33 wrecks.

Twenty-two people have died in traffic crashes in Chattanooga so far this year, according to police, including six people on Interstate 75 who died in one wreck with a tractor-trailer.

This weekend, with motorists on the road in droves, local law enforcement officers are saturating the city with extra officers to try to prevent more injuries and deaths.

Officers will be on the lookout for drunken drivers, speeders, people driving recklessly and drivers or passengers who aren't wearing seat belts.

Chattanooga police are using state grant money to pay patrol officers overtime so they can spend extra time focused on traffic enforcement this weekend, said Lt. David Gibb. And the Tennessee Highway Patrol is pulling all available troopers — even people who normally work a desk in administration — to the streets this weekend, Lt. John Harmon said.

"Do I think it cuts down on fatalities? Absolutely," Gibb said. "I think people say, 'Well, I'm not going out and drinking tonight because I know there are tons of cops out tonight. Obviously, we can't do that heavy enforcement every day, all year-round. But for these heavier weekends, there should be a heavier presence."

Besides drunken driving violations, Labor Day is also one of the worst days of the year for drivers running red lights, according to the National Coalition for Safer Roads. Nationwide, 35,118 drivers ran red lights on Labor Day in 2014, according to the organization. The only day that saw more red light violations in 2014 was Memorial Day, with 37,800 violations.

For the count, the National Coalition for Safer Roads analyzed data pulled from red-light safety cameras — the kind of automated cameras that Tennessee lawmakers banned earlier this year.

Both police and the Tennessee Highway Patrol troopers will focus their enforcement on areas that are traditionally troublesome, Gibb and Harmon said.

"We're going to spend a lot of time working on I-75 this weekend," Gibb said.

Contact staff writer Shelly Bradbury at 423-757-6525 or sbradbury@timesfreepress.com with tips or story ideas.

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