MARSHALL COUNTY — Millions of Americans will travel our nation’s highways this Thanksgiving holiday to visit family and friends. With more vehicles on the road, the chances of being involved in a crash increase greatly.
The Bourbon Police Department, Marshall County Sheriff’s Department and Plymouth Police Department are joining more than 230 local law-enforcement agencies across the state to spot violations to Indiana’s seat belt and impaired driving laws. Through the weekend after Thanksgiving, expect to see an increase in random patrols, saturation patrols and checkpoints. This overtime enforcement is supported with National Highway Traffic Safety Administration funds administered by the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute.
“Why are we advertising this enforcement blitz? To give drivers and their passengers fair warning and to make our roads as safe as possible,” said Bourbon Police Officer Matt Geiger. “Our officers live in the communities we serve and will be thankful this holiday if impaired-driving and unbuckled deaths never strike again.”
New Portable Breath Tests
NHTSA and ICJI recently announced delivery of 1,759 portable breath tests to assist 150 Indiana law-enforcement agencies in establishing probable cause when arresting drunk drivers.
The Alco-Sensor FSTs mouthpieces and gas canisters used to calibrate the readings were purchased with just over $750,000 in federal impaired-driving funds. The new devices include passive sniffers that can sense alcohol in the air around a person or an open container. Over the coming year, an additional $310,000 is budgeted to purchase 725 portable breath tests for Indiana State Police posts.
It’s the law
In every state, it is illegal to drive with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher. In Indiana, drivers under 21 with a BAC of .02 or higher are subject to fines and a license suspension for up to 1 year.
Indiana has a primary seat-belt law, meaning that police officers may ticket unrestrained drivers or passengers, even if no other traffic violation has taken place. In addition, all passengers under age 8 must be in an approved car seat or booster seat.
The ICJI and Purdue University Center for Road Safety estimate that about 93 percent of Hoosiers buckle up. But the small amount of drivers and passengers not wearing seat belts made up more than half of Indiana’s fatal crashes in 2016.
Crashes involving at least one alcohol-impaired driver resulted in 211 Hoosier deaths and nearly 2,100 injuries during 2016. And the Thanksgiving holiday is one of the deadliest times of year.
With all of today’s options for getting home safely, there’s no excuse for getting behind the wheel impaired as it endangers you and everyone else around you.
Impaired driving is three times more common at night than during the day. If you see an impaired driver, turn off the road away from the vehicle and call 911.