Last Labor Day weekend, Tennessee officials recorded 12 deaths in 11 motor vehicle accidents. One of the fatal victims was a pedestrian. Of those deaths, two were attributed to driving under the influence of alcohol.
It is in light of those statistics that the state announced this week that the Tennessee Highway Patrol plans to mount 34 checkpoints across the state. The sites will be active from 6 p.m. Friday until just before the stroke of midnight on Monday night. And in 11 targeted counties, checkpoints will be designated as "No Refusal" sites. To avoid being caught unaware, read on.
Officials say the No Refusal status means that if a suspect refuses to submit to a breath or sobriety test after being stopped, officers will have the authority to seek warrants to conduct blood alcohol tests. In the face of such pressure, it seems appropriate to remind readers that the consequences of being charged and convicted of a DUI offense is serious and that the best first step in dealing with such circumstances is to contact an experienced attorney.
Tennessee authorities note that DUI enforcement is something they try to stay on top of all year round. But it gets special attention during holiday periods. They say the ultimate goal is public safety. So, in addition to checking for DUI, they say they'll be looking for instances in which drivers or passengers aren't wearing seatbelts.
We have no issue with the desire to increase the safety of Tennessee residents. But it may be worth noting that stepped up enforcement should not mean that authorities use the situation to skirt the rules of due process as they go about their work. There is no question that driving while impaired is dangerous, but the presumption of innocence should not fall by the wayside.
A list of all planned checkpoints is available here.
Source: Examiner.com, "Tenn. Department of Safety, THP announce Labor Day checkpoints," David Garrett Jr., Aug. 27, 2013