Nov. 27, 2006
CONTACT: Police Chief Buddy Peaster; Associate Police Chief Roy Brewer, at 615-898-2424
MURFREESBORO—Because there is a higher incidence of drunk driving right before and during traditional academic breaks, the Department of Public Safety at Middle Tennessee State University will set up field-sobriety check points on campus the evening of Thursday, Dec. 7, and repeat them on a quarterly basis throughout the year.
MTSU Police are joining local and state law-enforcement agencies, at the urging of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Governor’s Highway Safety Office, to help make Tennessee streets and highways safer for everyone. The goal is to reduce alcohol- and drug-related fatalities to 35 percent in 2006 from a baseline of 41 percent in the year 2000.
A grant awarded to MTSU’s Public Safety department, financed with funds administered through the Tennessee Department of Transportation and the Governor’s Highway Safety Office, assisted in providing the necessary personnel and time to make this effort possible.
“Our goal is to reduce the number of impaired drivers by being proactive,” commented MTSU’s Associate Chief Roy Brewer.
According to a 2004 report from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System, a Web-Based Encyclopedia, Tennessee ranks 11th for overall alcohol-related fatalities on the highway. Additionally, with MTSU’s enrollment increasing 2 to 3 percent each year over the last several years, Public Safety records indicate there also has been a steady rise in the number of alcohol-related incidents and arrests on campus.
Brewer adds, “We have been fortunate that with the university’s growth, we have not had a fatality crash on campus as of yet. We are aware of numerous fatality crashes off campus involving MTSU students. If being more visible on campus can save just one life, our efforts will be worth it.”
This may be the first time in Tennessee history that sobriety check points will be conducted on a college campus, Brewer noted.
It takes more than enforcement measures to protect the community from drunk drivers, Brewer acknowledges. “We also have many education programs that we present to interested groups on campus, such as Drunk Goggles.”