NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP) has announced it will receive traffic safety grants from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to provide increased enforcement, public awareness campaigns and help to reduce serious injury and fatal crashes on state roadways in 2019. The grant funds are distributed through the Tennessee Highway Safety Office (THSO).
The THP continues to target seat belt usage across the state. The Belts Eliminate Loss Tragedy and Suffering (BELTS) program will provide funding to allow state troopers to increase the current seat belt usage rate of 88.51 percent. Statistical data revealed that unrestrained fatalities are most likely to occur on Fridays and Saturdays. THP received $100,000 in grant monies for the BELTS program.
Goals of the BELTS Program include:
Conduct safety belt school zone enforcement blitz in each of the eight THP Districts each month;
- Conduct nighttime safety belt saturations.
- Each district will participate in 12 statewide seat belt blitzes scheduled;
- Reduce the number of unrestrained drivers in fatal and injury crashes by 5 percent;
Increase the seat belt usage rate by 2.5 percent.
“Just Drive” is a new THP distracted driving campaign. With the evolving of new communication technologies, more and more drivers are becoming negligent and paying less attention to safe driving. Distracted driving encompasses more than just texting while driving. Distracted driving is any activity that could divert a person’s attention away from the primary task of driving. “Just Drive” grant funds that were provided to the agency in the amount of $100,000.
Goals for 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.
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 utilized a data-driven approach to address alcohol-related crashes by targeting times and locations where these types of incidents are most prevalent. Predictive analytics has revealed that the majority of impaired driving crashes occur between the hours of 4:00 p.m. and 4:00 a.m., and a higher rate of alcohol-related wrecks occurs on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
Goals for the “Sober Up TN” program 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 Attorney Generals Conference, school and court officials and associated stakeholders.
“Sober Up TN” grant funds that were provided to the agency amounted to $630,000. Both grant programs will end on September 30, 2019.
The Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security’s (TN.Gov/safety) mission is to serve, secure, and protect the people of Tennessee.