Tennessee Highway Patrol receives traffic safety grants

Staff Reports • Updated Dec 29, 2017 at 11:00 AM

NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Highway Patrol received traffic safety grant funding from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to provide increased enforcement and public awareness campaigns in an effort to reduce serious injury and fatal crashes on state roadways in 2018.  

The grant funds will be distributed through the Tennessee Highway Safety Office.

The THP continues to target seat belt use across the state. The “BELTS” program will provide funding to allow state troopers to enhance the current seat belt use rate of 88.5 percent. Statistical data indicates that unrestrained fatalities are most likely to happen Fridays and Saturdays.

Goals of the “BELTS” program include:

• conduct monthly seat belt checkpoints in each of the eight THP districts.

• each district will participate in the 12 statewide seat belt blitzes scheduled.

• reduce the number of unrestrained drivers in fatal and injury crashes by 5 percent.

• increase the seat belt use rate by 2.5 percent.

The THP received $100,000 in grant funding for the “BELTS” program.

The THP has a new distracted driving campaign called “Just Drive.” With the addition of new communications technologies, drivers are paying less attention when driving. Distracted driving encompasses more than texting while driving.  Distracted driving is any activity that could divert a person’s attention away from the primary task of driving.

Goals of the “Just Drive” program include:

• reduce injury crashes where distracted driving was indicated as a contributing factor.

• reduce fatal crashes where distracted driving was indicated as a contributing factor.

• reduce the total number of crashes where distracted driving and other hazardous moving violations were noted as a contributing factor.

“Just Drive” grant funds that were provided to the agency amounted to $100,000.

The “Sober Up TN” program allows the THP to allocate additional hours for state troopers to patrol the interstates, conduct sobriety checkpoints, perform bar checks and educate the public on the dangers of drinking and driving.

State troopers have used a data-driven approach to address alcohol-related crashes by targeting times and locations where the types of incidents are most prevalent. Predictive analytics has allowed the THP to target impaired driving crashes; the majority of which happen between 4 p.m. and 4 a.m. A higher rate of alcohol-related wrecks is shown to happen Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

The “Sober Up TN” program goals include:

• increase the number of sobriety checkpoints.

• enforce DUI and alcohol-related offenses.

• reduce fatalities where alcohol was indicated as a contributing factor.

• facilitate community meetings to solicit citizen attendance and input and involve local agencies, district attorneys, school and court officials and associated stakeholders.

“Sober Up TN” grant funds that were provided to the agency amounted to $600,000.  The grant programs run through Sept. 30.

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