Authorities working to keep drivers safe for holidays - WSMV Channel 4

Authorities working to keep drivers safe for holidays

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

It's a sight that's becoming all too common - crime tape, damaged cars and drivers facing life-threatening injuries.

Police said it appeared the driver failed to yield to traffic, but investigators found evidence the driver had been drinking.

Another crash in July on Interstate 24 in Rutherford County destroyed a family as a mother and her 3-month-old daughter died.

"What causes crashes is alcohol, drug impairment, failure to wear seat belts and speeding," said Tony Burnett from the Governor's Highway Safety Office.

"The police department takes drunken driving very seriously," said Metro police spokesman Don Aaron.

So far this year nearly 40 percent of deadly crashes in Nashville have involved impaired drivers.

To help get drunks off the road, police will set up a sobriety checkpoint in Hermitage Friday night.

Extra officers will also be out all weekend to help ensure you make it home safely.

"If you are going to go out and have a good time, drink responsibly," said Aaron. "Have a designated driver if you feel like you've had a little too much. Don't risk going to jail."

You can also expect to see extra officers on I-24 in Rutherford County. They will be looking for anyone who is speeding, not wearing a seat belt or driving under the influence.

"I do not want to have to contact when we have them or send them to your home to let them know you're not coming home," said Smyrna Police Chief Kevin Arnold.

For hundreds of families across the state, that's a reality they have had to face. There have been 1,002 deaths on Tennessee highways this year, up from 2011.

A number of those crashes occurred in Rutherford County, which is why officers from different agencies will work the roads together this weekend for "Crash No More on 24." There were six deaths and 230 people injured in Rutherford County crashes.

"We cannot bring back the lives lost in 2012," said Burnett. "But we can make an impact as we end this year and bring in 2013."

"Our goal as you bring in the new year is to provide you and your family safe travel in order that you will arrive alive and arrive safe at your destination," said Burnett.

Aaron emphasized if you have too much to drink this New Year's Eve, don't risk a ride to jail.

"There are many ways to get home safely and not take your life into your own hands, not risk your life or the lives of persons you may encounter on the roadway," said Aaron.

State troopers will be conducting sobriety checkpoints in several counties this weekend.

They're also exercising the new "No Refusal" law in Robertson and Wilson counties.

It gives law enforcement easy access to search warrants so they can almost immediately get blood samples from suspected drunk drivers.

If you need a ride home on New Year's Eve, the Davidson County Sheriff's Office is offering its "Sober Ride" program again this year.

They will have two pick-up locations in the downtown area, one at Sixth Avenue South and Broadway, near Bridgestone Arena, and another on Demonbreun near the Music Row bars.

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