Authorities in Franklin launched an aggressive campaign this month to increase motor vehicle safety.
Dubbed “Safe Streets,” the multi-agency campaign was held from Aug. 16-19 and was spearheaded by the Franklin Police Department. The operation yielded several arrests and citations, as officers aggressively sought speeders, reckless and drunk drivers.
Nineteen officers from several jurisdictions participated in the Safe Streets campaign, including officers from the Franklin Police Department, Macon and Jackson County Sheriff’s Offices, the State Highway Patrol and the Highlands Police Department. Officers set up roadblocks in and around Franklin city limits.
FPD Lieutenant Danny Bates said that the roadblocks, like most safety checkpoints, are coordinated efforts by law enforcement agencies which often span the perimeter of a municipality where through-traffic is at its highest.
“We anticipate a lot of traffic along this road,” said Bates alongside U.S. 441 North on the night of Friday, Aug. 17. “We are already seeing a lot of traffic coming through.” The stretch of road was lit up, as dozens of cars lined up on both sides of the highway, while officers in reflective vests checked each driver’s license.
Several safety checkpoints and saturation patrols were set up with the onset of the Smoky Mountain Rumble, as an influx of overall traffic was anticipated. Officers were assisted by Franklin Fire and Rescue for the checkpoints, which were held Friday on U.S. 441 North at the Cat Creek intersection, the Highlands Road and the intersection of Wayah and Porter Streets on Saturday and at the intersection of West Main and Green Streets on Sunday.
The campaign was also an effort to increase public awareness of motorcyclists coming into the area for the biker rallies.
“Please be aware that motorcycles are more difficult to notice than a car or truck so be sure to look twice before changing lanes, entering a roadway, and travelling through an intersection. Remember to allow a greater following distance behind motorcycles; they can stop much faster than your car or truck,” read a FPD media release.
All in all, the goal of the campaign has been achieved, remarked FPD Sergeant Tony Ashe. “I think overall it was a success,” he said. “We had very few accidents and no injuries. I think the [campaign] served the community well, by reinforcing public safety during high-volume traffic.”
Ashe reported that one moped accident and one vehicle accident occurred that weekend within city limits, and out of five arrests, four were Driving While Impaired offenses and one was a warrant for arrest. Approximately 130 citations were given to motorists along with 60 warnings.