The Tennessee Highway Patrol will join with state law enforcement agencies across the country to keep drivers on I-40 safe over the Thanksgiving holiday.
This will be the fifth year for the "I-40 Challenge Drive to Zero Fatalities" traffic safety initiative by all the states connected by Interstate 40, from California to North Carolina.
There will be increased patrols along the entire 2,555 length of I-40 starting on Wednesday and ending on Sunday.
“It is so heartbreaking when we lose a life on our Tennessee roadways,” THP Colonel Tracy Trott said. “I am making a commitment to increase our trooper presence not only on the I-40 corridor, but on all of our major Tennessee roadways. I am very thankful to the other highway patrols and state police across the nation who have also committed to this challenge. We need you, the public, to join us by doing your part in making safe choices as you drive across our state. “
There are 455 miles of I-40 in Tennessee. Last year, there were 54 crashes on the Wednesday before and 51 crashes on the Sunday after the holiday on I-40. Four of the crashes were alcohol-related.
THP's sole focus will not be on I-40 as troopers will also be out on force on the rest of Tennessee's roadways, watching for impaired and distracted drivers and seatbelt use. During last year's 120-hour holiday period there were 16 traffic fatalities. Three of the fatalities were a result of alcohol-impairment and four were unrestrained.
Troopers will also conduct DUI checkpoints across the state.
“The Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) will promote the I-40 Challenge on its dynamic message boards and will suspend lane closures beginning at noon on Wednesday, November 22 through 6 AM on Monday, November 27,” TDOT Commissioner John Schroer said. “Our regional help trucks will also be working throughout the holiday weekend to assist with incidents that may occur along the interstates.”