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No Refusal Enforcement During New Year’s Eve Holiday

NASHVILLE—The Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP) will conduct a “No Refusal” traffic safety enforcement campaign during the 2014 New Year’s Eve holiday period, beginning at 12:01 a.m., Wednesday, Dec. 31 and concluding at 11:59 p.m., Sunday, January 4.  State troopers will perform saturation patrols, seat belt, sobriety and driver’s license checkpoints and bar/tavern checks during the holiday.

The state statute regarding “No Refusal” allows law enforcement officials to seek search warrants for blood samples in cases involving suspected impaired drivers. The “No Refusal” enforcement will take place in eight counties across the state – one county in each of the eight THP Districts. This campaign is aimed at deterring impaired driving and reducing fatal crashes on Tennessee roadways. 

“Our goal is to help ensure safe roadways for citizens traveling to and from Tennessee during the holiday. We must remove impaired drivers from the road in order to accomplish that goal. State troopers will aggressively seek those violators throughout this New Year’s holiday period,” THP Colonel Tracy Trott said.

The participating “No Refusal” counties include Roane (Knoxville District); McMinn (Chattanooga District); Rutherford (Nashville District); Shelby (Memphis District); Washington (Fall Branch District); Cumberland (Cookeville District); Maury (Lawrenceburg District); and Hardin (Jackson District).  

During last year’s New Year’s holiday period, 16 people were killed in traffic crashes on Tennessee roadways.  Of the 16 vehicular fatalities, 15 were vehicle occupants and one was a pedestrian. Alcohol was involved in six (37.5 %) of the traffic deaths, while seven individuals killed were not wearing seat belts. 

Driving under the influence is a category targeted by the state’s highway patrol throughout the year. State troopers have arrested 8,068 individuals for alcohol-impaired driving from January 1 through December 19, 2014. In 2013, the number of arrests made during that time was 6,192. That’s a 30 percent increase during those same dates.

In Tennessee, the preliminary number of alcohol-related crashes has decreased 6.2 percent in 2014, compared to this same time period last year.  As of December 19, there have been 6,262 crashes involving alcohol-impaired drivers investigated by all Tennessee law enforcement agencies. That is 416 fewer than the 6,678 crashes during those same dates in 2013.

Overall, as of December 29, 2014, preliminary statistics indicate 952 people have died on Tennessee roadways, compared to the 986 fatalities at this same time last year.  

A list of the scheduled “No Refusal” enforcement checkpoints is attached.  A 2013-14 New Year’s Eve holiday statistical sheet also accompanies this release.

New Years No Refusal Checkpoints.pdf

13-14 NYE Historical .pdf

New Law Restricts Amount of Some Powerful Drugs That Can be Dispensed in Tennessee

press release

NASHVILLE – Effective this month, under a new Tennessee law, prescriptions for opioid pain medicines and benzodiazepine medicines may not be dispensed in Tennessee in quantities exceeding a 30-day supply. The new limits apply to all dispensers of these medications, including pharmacies, dispensaries and mail-order programs located either in or out of Tennessee.

“The law to limit the dispensing of some medications, which went into effect Oct. 1, is part of a statewide effort to reduce problems associated with misuse of these powerful drugs,” said TDH Chief Medical Officer David Reagan, MD, PhD. “It has potential to reduce the quantities of these medications available for abuse or overdose.”

The dispensing limits law is the second major initiative started this year to impact drug misuse.  In April, medical professionals in Tennessee were required to start checking the Controlled Substance Monitoring Database before prescribing in most cases. The database is designed to help ensure the best prescribing decisions are made for every patient, resulting in fewer people becoming dependent on pain medicines. Continue reading

HASLAM ANNOUNCES RESIGNATION OF DCS COMMISSIONER

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam today announced that Department of Children’s Services (DCS) Commissioner Kate O’Day has resigned from her post. (Governor appoints Commissioner Jim Henry as interim)

“Kate has informed me that she felt the time was right to step down,” Haslam said. “She was concerned that she had become more of a focus than the children the department serves.
Continue reading

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