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City of Knoxville, Tennessee
Madeline Rogero, Mayor

For Immediate Release
Knoxville Police Prepared For Holiday Traffic

Music and fireworks at World's Fair Park
Event listings for Festival on the Fourth
July 1, 2004 - Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam and Deputy Chief Gus Paidousis today announced July 4th Holiday enforcement plans. The holiday enforcement period will begin at 4:00 p.m. on Friday, July 2, 2004 and conclude at Midnight, Monday July 5, 2004.

Deputy Chief Paidousis said officers throughout each district will be looking for motorists who are speeding, driving recklessly or who are driving while impaired. Officers will also be on the lookout for motorists violating child restraint laws.

"New child restraint laws go into force today," said Chief Paidousis. "These laws are designed to increase the safety of children who are some of the most vulnerable to injury in a vehicle collision," Deputy Chief Paidousis said.

The new law requires the use of booster seats for children who fail to meet certain size and weight requirements.

In addition to new child restraint laws, Governor Bredesen has signed a bill making a violation of the seatbelt law a primary offense for motorists in Tennessee.

The new primary seatbelt law will allow officers to stop motorists who are driving without their seatbelt properly fastened. Studies have proven that when states upgrade their seatbelt laws from a secondary offense to a primary offense, a significant increase in seatbelt use follows.

In New Jersey, the rate of seatbelt use rose from 63 percent in 1999 to 74 percent in 2000. In Alabama, seatbelt use rose from 58 percent in 1999 to 71 percent in 2000. Seatbelt use in Michigan rose from 70 percent in 1999 to 84 percent in 2000.

Deputy Chief Paidousis said, "From 1999 through 2003, 168 people have died on Knoxville roadways. Sixty-five percent of those were riding unrestrained. Through the use of Directed Patrols, Saturation Patrols, and increased enforcement throughout construction zones, we hope to reduce the number of injury related crashes."

Mayor Haslam said, "We urge motorists to exercise patience wherever they may travel during this extended holiday weekend. By slowing down and properly using seatbelts, crashes resulting in serious injuries or even death could be prevented."

During the 2003 holiday enforcement campaign, 1,389 citations were issued to motorists. Officers also investigated 59 collisions with 9 of them resulting in injuries. One fatality, the first July 4th holiday fatality to occur since 1999, was recorded in 2003.

"We want the extended holiday weekend to be safe for all residents and visitors traveling to and through our city. We urge everyone to buckle up, slow down and above all, don't drink and drive," Deputy Chief Paidousis concluded.

For Immediate Release
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