Patrols set for July 4th weekend
by GREG KAYLOR, Banner Staff Writer
Jul 03, 2013 | 815 views | 0 0 comments | 31 31 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Bradley County Sheriff’s Office and Tennessee Highway Patrol troopers are gearing up for the Independence Day holiday weekend.

The long July 4 weekend officially begins at 6 p.m. today and ends at 11:59 p.m. Sunday.

“We will be performing WASP (Wide-Area Saturation Patrols) this week and into the weekend,” said Capt. W.G. Campbell of the Bradley County Sheriff’s Office.

Campbell also said DUI Checkpoints have been scheduled beginning July 12.

“The ‘No Refusal” campaign headed by THP will be concentrating efforts in two Chattanooga District counties.

Hamilton and Franklin counties will take part in the No Refusal law concentration, which permits law enforcement to “seek search warrants for blood samples in cases involving suspected impaired drivers,” according to THP information.

District captains made their choices based on data collection.

Bradley County was among several others which was chosen recently for the inaugural kickoff of the “No Refusal” campaign, just after laws took effect.

“We are proud to again partner with various local law enforcement officials, prosecutors and judges across the state in a ‘No Refusal’ enforcement campaign during the Fourth of July holiday period. Drunk driving is a threat to public safety, and this specialized enforcement gives us another tool to combat impaired driving and reduce fatal crashes in Tennessee,” said Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security Bill Gibbons.

Twenty-one fatalities occurred during the 2012 July Fourth weekend. Just under 50 percent of those killed were alcohol-related deaths and seven of the victims who died were not wearing seat belts, according to THP data.

Three motorcyclists also died during the holiday period.

“State troopers will aggressively seek out impaired drivers to ensure the safety of every Tennessee citizen and traveler during this holiday period,” THP Colonel Tracy Trott said. “In addition, we also urge motorists to wear their safety restraints and make sure all occupants are buckled up. When it comes to traffic safety, no one is above the law or invincible. The dangers of impaired or distracted driving and not wearing a seat belt are real, and oftentimes deadly,” he added.

Data also suggest that traffic-related fatalities are down year-to-date in 2013.

As of Monday, 436 people have died on Tennessee roadways. The figures indicate a -13.8 percent decline (or a decrease of 70 deaths), compared to 2012 figures.

Of those who have lost their lives this year, nearly 23 percent have been alcohol-related and nearly 50 percent were unrestrained.

Lt. John Harmon of the Chattanooga District also noted that an “increased awareness” regarding off-road vehicles is going to be enhanced as part of the weekend’s work.

“We have had two people killed in the Chattanooga District who were riding their all-terrain vehicles on roadways,” Harmon said Tuesday.

“Our troopers will be on the lookout for these traffic offenders through our increased awareness and enforcement of the traffic laws of the state of Tennessee,” Harmon added.