With Independence Day being celebrated in the middle of the week this year, law enforcement in Indiana will be on the lookout for impaired drivers during the weekend leading up to and including the holiday.
Indiana State Police is taking part in the national Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign from June 30 until July 8. Troopers will be increasing patrols with the primary goal of preventing tragedies previously seen around the July 4th holiday.
The extra high-visibility enforcement is funded by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) through the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute (ICJI).
“With the development of ridesharing, there is no excuse for someone to get behind the wheel of a vehicle impaired,” said Indiana State Police Lt. David Cox, Commander of the Putnamville State Police Post. “The motoring public’s safety is a main priority for the Indiana State Police. Troopers will be out looking for aggressive and impaired drivers and removing them from Indiana roadways.”
Of the 949 traffic fatalities that occurred last year in Indiana, 110 were alcohol related. While that is a decline from 115 in 2021, there is still a long way to go. During the weekend around Independence Day alone there were 11 fatal collisions, two of which involved a driver over the legal limit.
“Impaired driving is a serious problem that claims the lives of thousands of people each year in our state and nation. While increased enforcement efforts can help to reduce impaired driving, we cannot simply arrest our way out of this problem,” said Devon McDonald, Executive Director of the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute. “We need to work together to raise awareness of the dangers of impaired driving and encourage people to make smart choices when they drink. If you are going to drink, please designate a sober driver or call a taxi. It is not worth risking your life or the lives of others.”
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.
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.
Indiana State Police is encouraging everyone to plan a safe and sober ride home before going out. Even if only one drink is consumed, designate a sober driver or plan to use a rideshare service, public transportation, or taxi. Motorists that encounter a drunk driver on the road are encouraged to call 911.