Johnson City police increasing patrol during holiday season
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. - Booze it & lose it, that's the name of the Tennessee Highway Safety Office's DUI awareness and prevention campaign.
"Generally speaking we have more traffic on the roads during the holiday season, we need more patrols out to specifically look for impaired drivers," says officer Justin Jenkins.
In support of the campaign, the Johnson City Police department is conducting saturation patrols...a larger police presence combating impaired drivers.
"We have a grant through the Tennessee Highway Safety Office that allows officers to work extra duty details to saturate the streets specifically looking for impaired drivers," officer Jenkins says.
This year, the department has more than 280 DUI arrests; 53 of those resulted in car crashes, and nearly 75-percent of those involved injuries.
"We have several clues that we actually look for when we're behind vehicles...you have varying speeds, you have drifting back and forth, what we call failure to maintain the lane. If they're over the center line and they come back and can't maintain the limits of their lane. You have normal traffic infractions, running a red light, maybe sitting at a green light," officer Jenkins says.
The numbers go up during the holidays.
"We have such an increased level of traffic during the holidays from shopping to traveling to anything you can imagine, so more people on the road creates more risk," says officer Brittney Eberhardt.
Officer Eberhardt's message to drivers is simple.
"Use caution and be a defensive driver. That's one thing we that we teach during our defensive driving schools is to be more cautious and to be aware of what's going on. Don't just we aware of what's going on in your vehicle, but look around and see who's driving around you," officer Eberhardt says.