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Sobriety Checkpoints Becoming Common in Shelby County

Federal grant money means sobriety checkpoints will happen more frequently in Shelby County.
GERMANTOWN, TN (abc24.com) - Federal grant money means sobriety checkpoints will happen more frequently in Shelby County. Friday night the Shelby County Sheriff's Office will team up with the Germantown Police Department to conduct two sobriety checkpoints.

As a mother of five, Renee Silvis says drunk drivers are a huge concern. "After the Superbowl we went home from a party at half time rather than waiting until the game was ended, because we knew there would be more drunk drivers on the road." She says it was the same with New Year's; she and her husband left before the ball dropped. "It's not fair for other people to have to limit their freedom because of people's irresponsibility," Silvis says.

Tennessee is cracking down on drunk drivers. Less than two months into the New Year the Shelby County Sheriff's Office has sponsored a number of sobriety checkpoints. Sheriff's spokesperson, Chip Washington, says the stops are mandated by the state. The Sheriff's Office teams up with a different municipality each time. "It's all in an effort to keep folks safe," Washington says, "and I think in that perspective if you can save one life with a campaign like this, then you've done your job."

Germantown will host two check points overnight Friday into Saturday: one at Poplar and Kirby, the other at Poplar and West. The state requires agencies put out a public alert about the location of the stops. "This is not a 'got you' campaign," Washington says, "This is a safety awareness campaign. So we're letting you know we're going to be at certain locations at certain times."

Silvis hopes the frequency of the campaigns will lead to change. She says, "I support anything to make the streets safer. Drunk driving is a really big problem."

The check points are completely funded by government grants. 27 percent of people killed in car crashes on Tennessee Highways in 2011 involved drunk drivers.
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