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With the holidays come the THP sobriety checkpoints

Now that Halloween has passed and the stores are full of Christmas displays, another sure sign of the impending holiday season are announcements by the Tennessee Highway Patrol, local law enforcement and the Governor's Highway Safety Office regarding stepped up enforcement during the season.

An announcement this week came from Knoxville, perhaps because Anderson County has seen a large increase in fatal accidents this year. The spokesman from the Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP) stated they would be increasing patrols, looking for "impaired, distracted, speeding and unrestrained drivers."

The THP will also be using sobriety checkpoints during the season, often around the times when people are traveling to parties and other holiday celebrations. These checkpoints will be used throughout Tennessee and likely Chattanooga will see its share in the next two months.

Of course, increasing the number of DUI patrols and their locations means more work for the officers and troopers and it increases the chance that they may make some questionable calls.

Maybe the officer has been on duty for an extended period and has grown fatigued, and he or she may be tired or irritable. They may not like a driver's attitude during a stop and may become adversarial and make the call that the driver failed their field sobriety test.

Whenever you interact with law enforcement, you should remain polite and cooperative, as defiance or obstructive behavior may bring additional criminal charges, even if the underlying reason for the stop was questionable.

Everyone should drive safely during the holidays, but at the same time,  you don't want to be arrested inappropriately and have to deal with the potential consequences of DUI charges.

Knoxnews.com, "Law enforcement vows increased patrols during holidays in Anderson County," Bob Fowler, November 10, 2014

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