Drivers headed out for the holiday weekend in Tennessee might notice a few extra police cars. They are aiming to prevent car accidents by cracking down on distracted drivers and focusing on all aspects of traffic safety.

According to The Cookeville Times, the program is called the Combined Message Enforcement for Tennessee (CoMET). The safety initiative, sponsored by the Governor’s Highway Safety Office and local law enforcement officials, is said to be different from previous programs, such as “Booze It and Lose It” or “Click It or Ticket.”

Rather than focus on particular traffic safety issues, the scope will be broad. Officials say the initiative is meant to target distracted driving, speeding, aggressive driving, unbelted drivers and impaired driving. Distracted driving, in particular, is one problem the force hopes to tackle.

Officers warn that people driving while impaired will not be given a warning. They will promptly be arrested. In 2009, about a third of people killed in traffic crashes in Tennessee involved drivers with a blood-alcohol content over the legal limit.

Officers are encouraging those who take medication to be careful and check labels to see if the medicine can cause drowsiness. As for distracted drivers, anyone seen texting while driving will almost certainly be flagged.

Only one other state is participating in such a campaign. Tennessee is teaming with the U.S. Department of Transportation and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

As always, please drive safely this holiday season.

Source: Cookeville Times, “Watch out: more cops. More stops,” Nov. 12, 2011