A new law that allows law enforcement to require a driver suspected of drunk or impaired driving to give a blood sample is being enforced in Anderson County from Tuesday, July 3 through Sunday, July 8, District Attorney General Dave Clark announced Monday.
Clark said it is Tennessee’s first operation to implement the new law and will involve saturation patrols, roadblocks and other special law enforcement actions.
The Tennessee Highway Patrol is leading the operation and will be assisted by the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department. Clark and his assistant district attorneys along with Circuit Court Judge Don Elledge will be standing by 24 hours a day during this period to process search warrants for blood samples under the new law, according to a press release from the district attorney general’s office.
This new law means that drivers who have been stopped by law enforcement for suspicion of driving under the influence, or DUI, can not refuse to give a breath or blood sample. If a driver refuses, there is a procedure that allows law enforcement to request a search warrant to obtain a blood sample.
“We are going to great lengths to make Anderson County a better and safer place to live and that includes making the traveling public safer from drunk drivers,” Clark said. “The ability to obtain blood sample search warrants is brand new in Tennessee but we believe it will be an important tool in deterring impaired driving.”
Clark said breath samples don’t detect drugs and illegally obtained prescription drugs like they do alcohol, so they are ineffective at providing evidence against those types of impaired drivers.
Last year 946 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes in Tennessee. Of those, about 289 were killed in traffic accidents that involved alcohol.
The new state law was made effective Tennessee July 1. Other special operations in other parts of the state will be planned to make all drivers aware of the new law, Clark said.