Rangers at Great Smoky Mountains National Park have announced plans to begin a series of DUI vehicle checkpoints and traffic patrols this weekend in an effort to provide a safer visit for the approximately 20 million people who drive through the Park or travel the Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge Spur and Foothills Parkway each year. The Smokies has received $25,000 from the U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, to fund several waves of DUI reduction activities in 2010-2011.
According to Chief Ranger Clay Jordan, “Managers of national parks have two essential missions. One is to preserve and protect the Park’s natural and cultural resources in perpetuity. The other is to provide for the safe enjoyment of those resources by the Park’s visitors. While many people tend to think that the chief risks associated with visiting a national park would be posed by wildlife or natural hazards like waterfalls or cliffs, the fact is that motor vehicle crashes account for over 2/3 of the fatalities at the Smokies. Sadly, alcohol is a contributing factor in too many of these wrecks.”
“Over the next few weeks we plan to ramp up our efforts to reduce these crashes through a combination of stepped-up DUI enforcement and education.”
DUI checkpoints are scheduled on the Gatlinburg Pigeon Forge Spur and near the Park’s Cherokee Entrance the weekend of April 29. The Park has also scheduled Saturation Patrols in various locations over the next couple of weeks.