Safety and sobriety urged

Friday, July 4, 2008

The Tennessee Depart-ment of Safety wants to remind motorists to dial *THP if they encounter trouble on the road.

The Tennessee Highway Patrol responds to more than half a million calls for service each year. State Troopers are there if a driver needs them, whet-her it's for a flat tire or a serious crash. Motorists can dial *THP (Star 847) from their cell phone and will be automatically connected to the closest THP dispatch office.

"We are working 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year," said THP Colonel Mike Walker. "If you dial *THP, an operator will make sure that a Trooper is sent to your location to help, and it doesn't matter how small the problem may be. Being stuck on the side of the highway can be dangerous, and we are here to serve and protect everyone traveling Tennessee highways."

Drivers can still dial 911 if they are in an emergency situation, but dialing *THP may cut down on wait time since the call goes directly to the Troopers where they are located. This is an important reason why motorists need to be aware of their surroundings as they travel. It is much easier for Troopers to locate a driver needing assistance if that driver can provide details such as a mile marker, road sign or landmark.

Motorists are also encouraged to dial *THP if they suspect another driver is under the influence or driving aggressively. Dri-vers who believe they are the victim of road rage or any other form of aggressive driving should never retaliate or react in a manner that causes more danger. When it is safe to use a cell phone, that driver should call *THP and provide THP dispatch with their location, a description of the other vehicle and details regarding the incident.

The Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP) is teaming up with officers from the Tennessee Wildlife Resour-ces Agency (TWRA) this upcoming July Fourth holiday weekend to crack down on impaired drivers on the road and on the water.