MADISON COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) - Drunk driving related deaths on our highways know no boundaries. That's why state police from Alabama, Tennessee as well as Madison County and Lincoln County, Tennessee Sheriff's offices are teaming up this weekend and over the next three weeks for a high-visibility campaign known as Hands Across Borders.
Leading up to Labor Day weekend on Sept. 1, they'll be focusing on DUIs, seatbelt violations and distracted driving. Their ultimate goal: to keep the number of DUI-related deaths on our state highways and rural roads to zero.
Drunk driving kills more than 10,000 people every year in the United States. On average, one person every 51 minutes becomes a victim of an alcohol-involved crash.
"Research has proven that we can reduce impaired driving fatalities by 20 percent when we have high-visibility campaigns," explains Tony Burnett, Tennessee Governor's Highway Safety Office Law Enforcement Liaison.
Agencies will focus on DUIs, seatbelt violations, distracted driving, and improper lane movements. Troopers and deputies will crack down with sobriety checkpoints and saturation patrols. The combined efforts of public safety and law enforcement partners culminate with one goal - and it's not revenue or quotas.
"The objective of this entire campaign is to do nothing other than protect the lives of the citizens driving these roads every day and every night," reminds Lincoln County Sheriff Murray Blackwelder.
The campaign held annually across the southeast for 23 years now highlights the important partnerships and teamwork mentality among local law enforcement.
"We may fight on the football field or the athletic field or anything we do, but death on our highways doesn't know any boundaries," says Kendell Poole, Chairman of the Tennessee Governor's Highway Safety Office. "We want to be able to share best practices and campaigns."
Participating agencies say in addition to their teaming, the most important part of the safety equation involves you - the public. State police say they would love nothing more than voluntary compliance from 100 percent of drivers.
"That's why we ask you to please join hundreds of law enforcement officers, the Alabama Highway Patrol, Tennessee Highway Patrol, local safety advocates, counties and cities all across the land in this nationwide drunk driving campaign," urges Tony Burnett.