Local Sources- Indiana troopers are joining other troopers along the nation’s interstate corridors to deter impaired driving during the Labor Day weekend.
The border-to-border enforcement effort is taking place as a part of the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over enforcement campaign. The overtime patrols are funded by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) through the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute (ICJI).
As part of the enforcement effort, law enforcement agencies nationwide will be focusing efforts along I-70, I-80, I-90 and I-94. Troopers will be taking drivers under the influence of drugs or alcohol off the roads.
As drivers are making their way along Indiana roads, including these major interstates, they should make sure to drive safely.
“There is no excuse for driving impaired on alcohol or drugs,” said Devon McDonald, ICJI Executive Director. “Impaired driving is incredibly risky not only for the person making the choice to drive impaired but for everyone else on the road.”
About 37 people die in the U.S. in drunk driving crashes every day. That’s approximately one person every 39 minutes and more than 13,384 annually, according to NHTSA.
Of the 949 traffic fatalities that occurred last year in Indiana, 110, or 12 percent, were alcohol related. While that is a decline from 115 in 2021, there is still a long way to go.
During the 2021 Labor Day holiday period (6 p.m. September 3-5:59 a.m. September 7), there were 531 crash fatalities nationwide. Of these 531 traffic crash fatalities, 41% (216) involved a drunk driver, and more than a quarter (27%) involved drivers who were driving with a BAC almost twice the legal limit (.15+ BAC).
In Indiana, it is illegal to drive with a BAC of .08 or higher. In addition, drivers under 21 with a BAC of .02 or higher are subject to fines and a license suspension for up to one year. Motorists who encounter a drunk driver on the road are encouraged to call 911.
Impaired driving includes more than just alcohol. Drugs and even some over-the-counter medications can also cause impairment and can slow coordination, judgment and reaction times on the road.
"The number of drivers testing positive for THC and poly-drug use is a growing problem that can have deadly consequences,” said Jim Bryan, ICIJ Traffic Safety Director. “We are working to address this issue by training more officers and providing new tools to law enforcement. But the best way to prevent impaired driving is for people to not drive high or under the influence of any other drugs. If you are going to drink or use drugs, have a plan to get home safely. Call a cab, ride-share service, or a friend or family member. Don't risk your life and the lives of others."
To further prevent drunk driving, ICJI’s Sober Ride Indiana program is running a special holiday campaign in Ft. Wayne and Indianapolis. From September 3 through September 4, the program is offering $15 off Uber and Lyft rides up to 500 redemptions per day.
Ride credits are only available between the hours of 5 p.m. and 3 a.m. while supplies last. To redeem a discounted ride, visit SoberRideIndiana.com.