Col. Tracy Trott of the Tennessee Highway Patrol and Director of ABC Danielle Elks met with other officials Tuesday at the Charleston location of Bradley County Fire Rescue to explain the process in which the two agencies can share information to strengthen investigations.
State Rep. Eric Watson was planning to introduce legislation to open the program TITAN, which is one of the leading programs developed by THP to track traffic crash information.
TITAN stands for Tennessee's Integrated Traffic Analysis Network.
“We were able to do this without legislation. We brought this to the table and began talking at virtually no cost to the taxpayer,” Watson said.
Watson said the program was developed after two minors were served alcohol in a local restaurant. The two incidents were unrelated and occurred on separate occasions. Both minors were killed in automobile crashes just days apart, according to Watson.
“The ABC is in charge of complaints of this type. With the new program, THP and ABC will be able to share information to further investigate these type incidents,” Watson said.
Attorney Jimmy Logan was instrumental in bringing the idea to Watson who began talking with THP and ABC during the legislative session this year.
TITAN is the database which can be used to track alcohol-related offenders of the driving laws in Tennessee.
Sen. Mike Bell praised the efforts of the THP and ABC and thanked Bradley County Fire Rescue for its responses to crashes where alcohol has caused injury or death.
“You are on the front line and witness first-hand the carnage and destruction that comes from alcohol use and driving,” he said.
Elks said one of the major issues is people who consume alcohol then drive on Tennessee’s roadways.
“In 2009, almost 1,000 people died on Tennessee roadways due to alcohol use,” she said. “Innocent people have suffered the consequences.”
Elks said the ABC has enforced laws regarding sales of alcohol to intoxicated individuals, but investigation was not quick or efficient.
“Together, this program will allow us to investigate in an effective and efficient manner,” Elks said.
The discussion within the agencies and Watson opened the door to track and provide investigative information.
Local investigation by law enforcement is the beginning of the process.
The tracing through TITAN will allow investigators to determine where alcohol was sold to the offender, which will then lead to action against “those who sell to a physically intoxicated person, who is then allowed to leave the premises, which results in an accident because (he or she) is driving drunk,” Elks explained.
“Disciplinary action, whether suspension or revocation of license, can then be taken immediately against the licensee,” Elks said.
Trott said the TITAN database was introduced in 2008 and Tennessee is one of the leading Southeastern states in tracking crash information.