Messages against drinking and driving during the holidays are starting quite early this year. For many, the kickoff of the holiday season is often pegged to Halloween. For others, it's Thanksgiving.
For Tennessee officials, it began a couple of weeks ago and was marked by a decision to resume the practice of posting the state's traffic death toll daily on the electronic traffic signs that grace various interstates. Department of Transportation head John Schroer says the aim is simply to keep the issue on every driver's mind in hopes that it will save lives.
As of Oct. 18, officials noted that 800 people have died on Tennessee roads this year. That equaled what had been recorded by Oct. 17, 2012. But officials note that the rate of deaths has spiked in the last half of this year.
In addition to the announcing the resumption of posting fatality figures daily, law enforcement officials announced they'll be targeting what they call "high-risk" drivers over Thanksgiving. They said those suspected of drunk driving, texting and driving or driving without a seatbelt will be watched for particularly.
That would seem to suggest that anyone with one conviction for driving under the influence should plan to be extra careful to avoid possible charges of felony DUI.
No one disputes the need for authorities to be diligent in the performance of their duties enforcing the law. But when conditions of heightened vigilance are created by enforcement leaders, the chances increase of overzealous prosecutions. And that kind of activity, where it may be in evidence, shouldn't be allowed to go unchallenged. Individual rights are at stake.
Source: Tennessean.com, "Daily fatality count returns to TN interstate signs," Adam Tamburin, Oct. 18, 2013