Commissioner David W. Purkey of the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security (TDSOHS) and Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP) Colonel Tracy Trott joined multiple law enforcement partners to announce the fifth annual “I-40 Challenge Drive to Zero Fatalities” traffic safety initiative.
The I-40 Challenge will consist of increased patrols from state police/ highway patrol agencies along the I-40 corridor. In Tennessee, I-40 enforcement efforts will increase on the busiest travel days during the Thanksgiving holiday starting on Wednesday and going through this Sunday.
“It is so heartbreaking when we lose a life on our Tennessee roadways,” Colonel Tracy Trott said. “I am making a commitment to increase our trooper presence not only on the I-40 corridor, but on all of our major Tennessee roadways. I am very thankful to the other highway patrols and state police across the nation who have also committed to this challenge. We need you, the public, to join us by doing your part in making safe choices as you drive across our state. “
I-40 runs 2,555 miles through eight states including North Carolina, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California. I-40 runs through Tennessee encompassing 455 miles. In 2016, there were 54 crashes on the Wednesday before and 51 crashes on the Sunday after the holiday on I-40. Four of the crashes were alcohol-related. THP also issued 94 seat belt citations and arrested 12 individuals for impaired driving.
“Every THP Commander has signature programs and initiatives; this I-40 Challenge will be one of Colonel Trott’s legacies,” Commissioner David W. Purkey said. “What a great opportunity to team with other states from our nation’s East Coast to the West Coast saving lives along the way. Partner with us during this challenge by just slowing down, no texting and buckling up. This can save your life.”
In addition to the I-40 Challenge, the THP will also conduct its routine Thanksgiving holiday enforcement campaign across the state. During last year’s 120-hour holiday period there were 16 traffic fatalities. Three of the fatalities were a result of alcohol-impairment and four were unrestrained.
“The highway safety office fully supports the THP’s I-40 Challenge initiative,” Tennessee Highway Safety Office (THSO) Director Vic Donoho said. “Our local partners will be increasing education and enforcement efforts to help prevent traffic crashes and fatalities during the holiday season. We encourage all roadway users to pay attention, be mindful of busy intersections, and always obey the traffic laws.”

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