Tennessee, Arkansas ramp up DUI campaigns around Labor Day

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Two Mid-South states are stepping up enforcement of DUI violations at a time when there may be increased risk.

In Tennessee, the Tipton County Sheriff’s Office is partnering with the Tennessee Governor’s Highway Safety Office’s “Booze It and Lose It” campaign from Aug. 19 to Sept. 7.

Last year, the state saw 6,656 known alcohol-related crashes, or about 18 per day.

“Too many people think their actions don’t affect anybody else,” Sheriff J.T. “Pancho” Chumley said. “They know it’s illegal. They know it’s wrong. But they do it anyway — they make decisions as if those statistics just can’t happen to them.”

The county and state hope to reduce that number with more messages highlighting the dangers and more checkpoints and officers on the road.

“Our law enforcement partners will be out in full force looking for drivers under the influence of alcohol, and they will arrest you,” GHSO Director Kendell Poole said.

Aside from the deadly dangers, a DUI conviction can bring a $5,000-plus fine and jail time.

Arkansas also took up the task of increased drunk driving prevention around the holiday. Its 17-day “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” initiative starts Friday and combines state, county and city law enforcement resources.

In that state, 123 people have died in crashes involving motorists whose blood alcohol concentration is past the legal limit to drive, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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