Tennessee Highway Patrol Launches Tennessee Interstate Challenge

Monday, November 20, 2023 | 05:01pm

Today, Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security (TDSOHS) Commissioner Jeff Long, Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP) Colonel Matt Perry and Tennessee Highway Safety Office Director Buddy Lewis joined multiple law enforcement partners to announce the Tennessee Interstate Challenge traffic safety initiative.

The Thanksgiving holiday is the busiest travel time of the year. That is why the THP is increasing patrols during the Thanksgiving holiday by placing troopers every 10-20 miles on all Tennessee interstates and issuing the friendly Tennessee Interstate Challenge to every sheriff and chief of police. This unique and effective traffic enforcement initiative effects the entire state of Tennessee.

“This week many people are traveling across Tennessee to celebrate and give thanks with their loved ones,” said Commissioner Long. “With the Tennessee Interstate Challenge, we are working to prevent crashes and help everyone get home safely.”

Colonel Perry is personally requesting that every law enforcement agency have a strict tolerance for traffic violations in their areas of jurisdiction. To support local law enforcement partners that do not have an interstate system running through their jurisdictions, the THP will increase patrols on all secondary roadways across the state. It is the THP’s mission to do everything possible to prevent injury and death on Tennessee highways.

“I recognize the fact that we cannot enforce our way out of traffic incidents, but we are going to do our part to promote highway safety,” said Colonel Perry. “We are also asking drivers to do their part. Wear your seatbelt and don't drive distracted or intoxicated. If we work together, we can stop preventable crashes.”

Over the 2022 Thanksgiving holiday, THP arrested 89 people for DUI and worked 511 crashes. Of these crashes 14 involved fatalities. Of these deaths, 10 were occupant fatalities and 4 people were not wearing a safety restraint. Additionally, four pedestrians were killed. Troopers also investigated 36 crashes that were alcohol related. THP issued 469 seat belt citations and 2,575 speeding citations. These statistics don’t reflect the real-world impact made on families.

“The benefits of this traffic enforcement effort from previous years are immeasurable,” said Colonel Perry. “For example, we can't know how many lives were saved because a trooper stopped a speeding, distracted, or impaired driver. What we do know is that when we stop hazardous drivers, it makes an immediate positive impact on traffic safety. One fatality is too many. I feel that the Tennessee Interstate Challenge will be successful in helping us accomplish our goal of no fatal crashes.”

If you require assistance while on a Tennessee highway, please dial *847 (*THP) to be connected to a THP dispatcher.

THP's checkpoint schedule for the 2023 Thanksgiving holiday may be viewed on our website at, www.tn.gov/safety/tnhp/checkpoints.html