Some holidays, such as New Year’s Eve, have long been associated with overindulgence and alcohol. We have come to expect extra warnings about the dangers of drunk driving and the Tennessee Highway Patrol and other local law enforcement often have enhanced numbers of patrols on the roads and sobriety roadblocks, where drivers are questioned by troopers in an effort to determine if they have been drinking and are impaired.
Other holidays, like the Fourth of July and other long holiday weekends may also lead to increased drinking and more law enforcement presence on the highways. But most people may not be aware that Halloween is one of the higher-profile holidays featuring for alcohol consumption.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) report more than 50 percent of fatal accidents on Halloween that occurred between 2008 and 2012 involved a drunk driver.
Because of that, the Tennessee Highway Patrol will have an increased number of saturation patrols on the roads and will conduct sobriety and seat belt checkpoints. Last year, the Patrol made 51 DUI arrests.
Remember, Tennessee has a “no-refusal” law for sobriety checkpoints, meaning you cannot refuse to take a breath test or blood test used to determine your blood alcohol content.
As we noted last week, in Tennessee, the police must obtain a valid warrant for a blood draw, and at these checkpoints, they have a magistrate judge available to issue a warrant during the operation of the checkpoint.
The checkpoint locations have to be publicly disclosed, to allow citizens who wish to avoid the intrusion of a police interrogation, the traffic slow down that typically accompanies these roadblocks, and a potentially forced blood draw.
Nooga.com, “Tennessee Highway Patrol issues traffic safety reminders as Halloween approaches, announces roadblocks,” Ashley Hopkins, October 27, 2014