Law Enforcement increasing patrols through New Year's Day - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Law Enforcement increasing patrols through New Year's Day

(WRCB) -- It has been a deadly year for drivers in Tennessee, with far more traffic fatalities compared to this time last year.

Do not be surprised if you see more blue lights out on the roads for the rest of the year.

Friday marked the start of a five day enforcement campaign by the Tennessee Highway Patrol and other agencies, leading up to New Year's Day.

Officers just want drivers to buckle up, slow down and not drink and drive.

At last check, there have been more than 1,000 deaths on Tennessee roadways in 2012.

"While we can contribute this increase to a number of things, the bottom line is, it must stop," says Collegedale Police Chief Brian Hickman.

Through the first of the year, law enforcement will be out in full force, with sobriety and driver's license check points.

"We hope that 2013 will be even better than 2012. We hope that it will be better than 2011, when we had a record setting year," says Kendell Poole, with the Governor's Office of Highway Safety.

The Governor's Office of Highway Safety says while this year's numbers are high, there is still a positive trend with safety on the roads. It says in the last seven years there has been a 30 percent reduction in roadway fatalities, .and last year's 937 deaths marked a 50 year low.

Even so, people continue to make poor choices while behind the wheel.

"Driving impaired, texting while driving, speeding are all deadly actions," says Chief Hickman.

"That day he hit a tree doing 32 miles per hour. Talon literally broke everything in his face," says Lori Humphreys.

Humphreys also wants to encourage all drivers to buckle up.

Her son, Talon Harris, was not wearing his seat belt when he crashed his truck back in March.

"Talon's had to learn how to walk, talk, eat, drink. And we're still retraining the brain. He has to learn everything over," says Humphreys.

He has a simple message before you hit the road.

"Always buckle up, no matter what. It will save your life," says Harris.

It will also be a chance for law enforcement to crackdown on enforcing the 'No Refusal' Law,' put into effect earlier this year.

The law allows law enforcement to seek search warrants for a blood sample if a person arrested for driving under the influence refuses to consent to one.

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