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Number of traffic deaths causes alarm
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Anyone thinking about drinking over the Fourth of July holiday better stay at home as officers from across the state will be descending on Warren County to enforce Tennessee’s new implied consent law.
McMinnville Police Chief Bryan Denton said Warren County was selected because of the high number of traffic fatalities this year – a number that has reached 11 and includes a quadruple, triple, double, and two single fatalities.
“There is some major enforcement set for the week of the Fourth,” said Denton, noting it will kick off with a July 2 press conference at 10 a.m. in The Lot across from City Hall. “They are going to hold a no-refusal weekend here.”
A new state law allows officers to get a warrant to make a motorist take a blood or breath test when they are pulled over and suspected of drunk driving, regardless of whether they give their consent.
A person with a lengthy driving record was already subject to a mandatory test, however, the law now applies to everyone. Prior to toughening the implied consent law, a motorist could refuse the test and have his or her license taken away for a year. Now, the person can be made to take the test after a warrant is obtained.
In the case of the no-refusal weekend, lawmen will be obtaining warrants to compel suspects to take blood tests if they refuse breath tests.
Denton said it’s all about keeping the roadways safer.
“The number of fatalities we’ve seen so far is unheard of around here so I guess this is how the Governor’s Safety Office plans to approach it,” Denton said.