THP Cracking Down on Traffic Violators

By: Mike McCarthy
By: Mike McCarthy

Knoxville (WVLT) - You've got just under an hour left of your labor day holiday, and the Tennessee Highway Patrol says it will be out every second looking for drunken drivers.

Not to mention speeders or anyone else breaking the law.

Volunteer TV's Mike McCarthy rode along with the Highway Patrol and has more.

THP tells you they spent hundreds of extra hours to keep everyone safe. They set up more than 75 sobriety and drivers license check points across the state and they say every ticket could be a life saved.

Eyes Peeled. Radar ready. Tennessee Trooper Rusty Carr scouts the road for dangerous drivers.

"If they're out there. We're coming for you," Carr said.

Carr's time behind the wheel is part of the more than 400 extra man hours THP labored this Labor Day Weekend. Last year's holiday crashes killed nearly 20 Tennesseans.

"We don't dread doing our jobs. That's what we're here for," Carr said.

His right-hand rests on the wheel...now.

"It's not cramped. I've written a few tickets," Carr said.

25 tickets to 25 drivers in less than three days. More than double the usual weekend amount.

"A lot more speeding. A lot more speeding," Carr said.

And Carr just found another speeder.

"The reason I stopped you is I clocked you at 74, and it's a posted 55 speed zone," Carr said.

"My first instinct was I can't afford this," said Josh McPheeters, who was stopped for speeding.

Turns out 19-year-old Josh McPheeters gets a warning, and he'd rather troopers be out than not.

"Any holiday more people will be out. Some people making the bad decisions," McPheeters said.

The worst decision troopers say is to drink and drive.

"They're putting their lives at stake and being reckless with everybody else," Carr said.

THP says drunk drivers killed more than 400 people in Tennessee last year and you can help officers like Carr on the road. Troopers say if their lights are on, and they're pulled over, slow down or changes lanes. It's a favor. It's the law."

"So that way the officer...can do their job safely and not worry about getting run over by a vehicle," Carr said.

For McPheeters the weekend was a lesson.

"Not speed so much," McPheeters said.

And Carr's ready to teach other drivers.

As far as this year's stats, THP says they won't have the totals until Tuesday morning, but Trooper Rusty Carr got a personal statistic. He clocked the fastest speeder he's ever seen. The driver was going 98 in a 55 mile per hour zone.

All the extra man hours were paid for with a grant from the Governor's Highway Safety Office.


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