(RUTHERFORD COUNTY) The extended LABOR DAY WEEKEND is officially upon us. AAA, The Auto Club Group, is partnering with the Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP) and the Tennessee Highway Safety Office (THSO) to urge Tennesseans to avoid driving impaired over Labor Day weekend.
In Tennessee, the number of roadway fatalities is outpacing last year by nearly 4%, with one in three fatal crashes involving a DUI, according to Tennessee’s Integrated Traffic Analysis Network (TITAN).
Nationwide, 531 people died in traffic crashes during the 2021 Labor Day weekend, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA):
- 41% of these fatalities involved a drunk driver.
- 27% involved a driver with a BAC of .15 or more, or nearly twice the legal limit.
“We’re headed into what we expect to be a very busy travel weekend, at a time when we’re already seeing increased fatalities,” said Megan Cooper, spokeswoman for AAA – The Auto Club Group. “We want drivers to understand that driving impaired can have deadly consequences. Regardless of the impairing substance used, the message is the same – if you are impaired, you should not be driving. We urge Tennesseans to plan ahead for a sober ride home to avoid driving impaired this holiday weekend.”
“During Labor Day weekend, we ask that citizens drive sober, exercise due care, and adhere to all traffic safety laws,” said THSO Director Buddy Lewis. “If you choose to drink and drive, you could lose your license, your freedom, your life, or the life of someone else. All we ask is for voluntary compliance.”
“Enjoy your holiday weekend and plan ahead,” said Captain Christopher Dye, Tennessee Highway Patrol. “Many lives depend on choices – be sure to make it the right ones.”
New survey data from AAA reveals that:
- Most Tennesseans are very concerned about alcohol and illicit drugs as a cause of impaired driving.
- Yet, nearly one in six find it acceptable to drive after using marijuana, with over one in three finding it acceptable to drive after using CBD products.
- Of the one in three Tennesseans who have consumed cannabis or any cannabis products in the past year:
- Over half (60%) drove a vehicle within 2 hours of consuming cannabis at least once a month.
- Over half (56%) felt that cannabis neither impaired nor improved their driving performance.
- Alarmingly, about one in six (17%) felt that cannabis improved their driving performance.
AAA Activating Tow to Go Program for Labor Day
AAA is activating its Tow to Go program in Tennessee over Labor Day weekend, offering a safe ride for would-be impaired drivers and their vehicle. When called upon, AAA will dispatch a tow truck to transport the driver and vehicle to a safe location within a 10-mile radius for free. This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Tow to Go program. Since its inception, the program has removed more than 25,000 impaired drivers from the road.
- Tow to Go is active from 6 p.m. Friday, September 1st to 6 a.m. Tuesday, September 5th.
- Free confidential rides available to AAA members and non-members.
“By providing this program, AAA gives drivers no excuse for driving under the influence of drugs, alcohol or impairing medications,” continued Cooper. “However, we do remind people to treat Tow to Go as a last resort. Instead, make advanced plans for a safe ride home.”
For help, phone (855) 2-TOW-2-GO or (855) 286-9246
TOW TO GO GUIDELINES
- Provided from 6 p.m. Friday, September 1st to 6 a.m. Tuesday, September 5th.
- Free and available to AAA members and non-members.
- Confidential local ride for one person and their vehicle to a safe location within a 10-mile radius.
- Appointments cannot be scheduled in advance to use Tow to Go. It is designed as a safety net for those that did not plan ahead. Always choose a designated driver before celebrating.
- In some situations, AAA may need to make other arrangements to get an impaired individual a safe ride home.
- Tow to Go may not be available in rural areas or during severe weather conditions.
About the survey
The 2023 Traffic Safety survey was conducted online among 300 residents living in Tennessee from July 10 - 18, 2023. Results asked of all respondents have a maximum margin of error of ± 5.7 percentage points. Responses are weighted by gender and age to ensure reliable and accurate representation of the adult population (18+) in Tennessee.
About AAA - The Auto Club Group
The Auto Club Group (ACG) is the second largest AAA club in North America with more than 13 million members across 14 U.S. states, the province of Quebec, and two U.S. territories. ACG and its affiliates provide members with roadside assistance, insurance products, banking and financial services, travel offerings, and more. ACG belongs to the national AAA federation with more than 62 million members in the United States and Canada. AAA’s mission is to protect and advance freedom of mobility and improve traffic safety. For more information, get the AAA Mobile app, visit AAA.com, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.