Metro police, troopers increase DUI enforcement on St. Patrick’s Day

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Law enforcement in Middle Tennessee are taking extra steps to make St. Patrick Day celebrations safe for drivers.

Metro police reported in 2021, there were 665 alcohol related crashes in Davidson County, and more than 45% of fatal crashes last year involved impairment.

Officers in the traffic division will work with highway patrol troopers to operate a sobriety checkpoint on Murfreesboro Pike near the airport Thursday night.

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Officers are concerned that St. Patrick’s Day celebrations often involve excessive drinking.

“The weathers getting a little bit nicer, we’ve now had the time change where the days are getting a little bit longer. People are more likely to spend time outdoors enjoying alcoholic beverages and then getting in the roadway,” said MNPD Traffic Division Lt. James Williams. “It’s mind of the first drinking holiday of the spring so we are concerned about an increase in crashes and injuries involving impairment during this time so we like to get ahead of it.”

According to the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security, one in three fatal crashes involved a DUI. They said there were 6,047 alcohol related crashes in the state in 2021, which is up from 5,918 in 2020 and 5,738 in 2019.

The police department says the checkpoint will be staffed by extra-duty MNPD officers working through a grant from the Tennessee Highway Safety Office, and they selected Murfreesboro Road because it’s one Nashville’s busiest thoroughfares.

“In the past 5-10 years we’ve really seen a change in impaired driving from alcohol-only impairment to polysubstance impairment so where we are having people drinking alcohol and using some sort of drugs with it,” said Lt. Williams. “That’s prescription medication or illegal substance. That’s been the biggest change.”

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