December 21, 2004 - Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam
and Police Chief Sterling Owen today announced holiday traffic enforcement
plans for the upcoming Christmas and New Years holidays. The Christmas
holiday enforcement period will begin on Thursday, December 23, 2004
at 4:00 p.m. and conclude at Midnight on Sunday, December 26, 2004.
The New Years holiday enforcement campaign will begin at 4:00 p.m. on
Friday, December 31, 2004 and conclude at Midnight on Sunday, January
Owen said the department will continue to focus on drivers who are driving
while impaired, speeding, and driving recklessly. Proper use of seat
belts and child restraint seats will also be enforced.
This year officers have investigated thirty-five (35) fatal crashes
resulting in thirty-eight (38) deaths. Eleven of the fatal crashes
involved drivers who were driving while impaired. Blood alcohol content
test results are still outstanding in seventeen additional fatal crashes.
Chief Owen said, "The average blood alcohol content (BAC) in fatal
crashes this year has been .23 or nearly 3 times the legal limit.
Knoxville Police Department officers have also arrested 1,053 people
for driving under the influence. That represents a forty percent (40%)
increase in the number of arrests over 2003 and a one-hundred percent
(100%) increase over 2002."
During the 104 hour-long Christmas enforcement campaign in 2003, officers
issued 719 traffic related citations and investigated 97 crashes of
which 15 resulted in injuries. This year's reporting period will cover
80 hours. The last fatality recorded during the Christmas reporting
period occurred in 2002.
Officers issued 796 traffic related citations during the 32 hour-long
New Years holiday enforcement campaign in 2003-2004. Officers also
investigated 43 crashes that resulted in two fatalities. This year's
reporting period will cover 56 hours.
Chief Owen said, "We urge motorists to slow down, buckle up and above
all, please don't drink and drive."