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Saturation patrols set for weekend
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Drinking and driving will not be an option for motorists if police have anything to say about it this weekend as officers will be actively looking for drunk drivers during saturated patrols set for the Memorial Day holiday.
“Highly motivated and trained officers comprise the team conducting saturation patrols,” said McMinnville Police Lt. Mark Mara, noting recent saturated patrols have produced safe weekends. “These officers have been trained to administer standardized field sobriety tests to determine if a driver is impaired.”
Last year during Memorial Day weekend, 19 people were killed on Tennessee roadways.
Under Tennessee law, a person with a blood-alcohol level of .08 or higher is considered over the limit, however, a person can be charged and convicted of DUI or DWI if it is found they are impaired by alcohol or drugs, regardless of blood-alcohol content.
Mara hopes the mere threat of heavy police patrols will keep people from getting behind the wheel after drinking.
“The saturation patrols are designed to make highways safer and to increase public awareness of the hazards of drinking and driving,” Mara said, noting a DUI conviction brings automatic jail time and driver license forfeiture. “By removing intoxicated drivers from the roadways we can decrease the potential for motor vehicle accidents.”
Mara said the public can help by calling in unsafe motorists to 911 or 668-7000. Mara said a good description of the vehicle would give police a better chance to catch the reckless or drunk driver.
“It would be helpful to provide the make, model and color of the vehicle along with the license plate number,” Mara said.
The saturated patrol will be held in McMinnville beginning Friday and running through Memorial Day on Monday. There are also plans for stepped up patrols throughout the county and state.