Law enforcement agencies kick off safety campaigns

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- The weather is warming up and that means more people will be hitting the roads.

"We've had 25 deaths in the Knoxville District itself. We're five down from where we were last year, which is great. But we also know that with warm weather, more people are going to get out and about," said Steve Dillard, with the Governor's Highway Safety Office.

Including Matthew Brackett, who worries about all kinds of things when he's driving.

"Drunk driving, texting, speeding, things like that - you're not knowing what the next person is doing," said Brackett.

The Highway Patrol's new "Drive to Zero Fatalities" campaign deals with those issues. Its goal is to reduce the number of people killed on Tennessee roads by 15 percent this year.

"They're going to be looking for these drivers that are impaired, not wearing their seatbelts, distracted. We're going to take whatever action we can," said Lt. Don Boshears, with the Tennessee Highway Patrol.

The Roane County Sheriff's Office just got a little help in doing that with a new piece of equipment. The grant-funded trailer has holding cells for inmates, space to do breathalizer tests and a video monitoring system.

"That's going to help us when we go to court with these individuals that are arrested. It's part of our evidence and it shows that these people that are arrested are impaired," said Sheriff Jack Stockton, with the Roane County Sheriff's Office.

But it's not just drunk drivers on the mind of law enforcement. 17 agencies in the area will also crack down on seat belt usage as part of the "Seat Belts Are For Everyone" campaign.

"We're trying to get Tennesseans to change their behavior. So that when they get in the car, the first thing they should do is put that seatbelt on before they even put the car in drive," said Dillard.

Right now, Dillard says 85 percent of Tennesseans wear them, but the goal is for everyone to buckle up.


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