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Tennessee plans 'no refusal' checkpoints for Fourth of July weekend

Tennessee Highway Patrol district one headquarters in Knoxville, Tennessee.
Tennessee Highway Patrol district one headquarters in Knoxville, Tennessee.
David Garrett Jr.

The Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP) will increase patrols and conduct "no refusal" checkpoints throughout the state for the July Fourth holiday weekend, the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security announced today. The holiday period begins Thursday and ends on Sunday.

"No Refusal" is a law that allows police to forcibly draw a person's blood, with a warrant, if they refuse a breathalyzer test. According to the release, it appears that the law will only be enforced at certain checkpoints. They are located in Rutherford and Bedford counties.

"One of our priorities as an agency is DUI enforcement," THP Colonel Tracy Trott said. "The collective goal is to keep drunk drivers off the road and reduce alcohol-related fatalities on state roadways. State troopers will work hard throughout the holiday period to keep the roads safe."

In 2013, 19 people died during the holiday period which was down from 21 the year before. Of the 19 that died last year, 15 occupied a vehicle, but were not wearing seatbelts.

"We urge all Tennesseans and visitors traveling through our state to wear their seat belts. State troopers will aggressively seek out violators of the seat belt law and those driving recklessly or distracted. It's our goal to get everyone to their destination safely," Trott said.

According to the state, the deadliest holiday period was in 1996 when 27 people died. The least was in 2011 when 8 people died.

The holiday checkpoint list can be viewed here. And all July checkpoints can be viewed here.