WINONA LAKE — Kosciusko County Traffic Safety Partnership is joining about 230 law-enforcement agencies across Indiana and thousands nationwide in the “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” mobilization. From mid-August through Labor Day, police will be working overtime to arrest impaired drivers. Expect to see increased sobriety checkpoints, roving patrols and saturation patrols.
“Any substance that makes you feel different – like legal or illegal drugs and alcohol – can also make you drive different,” said Craig Allebach, Kosciusko County Traffic Safety Partnership Grant Administrator.
“Designate a sober driver today as officers will be on patrol for impaired drivers.”
Allebach said the average DWI can cost a person upward of about $10,000 when all expense are factored.
Overtime patrols are supported with National Highway Traffic Safety Administration funds distributed by the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute. For more information, visit http://on.IN.gov/drivesober.
New impaired-driving equipment
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.
But DWI includes more than alcohol, and there is no quick field test for the many prescription, over-the-counter, and illegal drugs that can impair drivers. To assist with traffic enforcement, the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute recently provided Indiana police agencies with:
• 2,600 portable breath tests to evaluate alcohol impairment in drivers,
• 1,000 RADAR and LIDAR speed-measurement devices, and
• Android tablets for 248 highly trained police officers who document drugged drivers.
Safe Driving Tips
The annual Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over enforcement campaign includes the Labor Day weekend, with thousands upon thousands of Hoosier families taking to their cars for end-of-summer barbecues, football games, lakes and pool parties. Sadly, it is also one of the deadliest times of the year for impaired-driving deaths.
Law enforcement recommends these safe alternatives to impaired driving:
• Designate, or be, a sober driver.
• Use public transportation.
• Call a cab or a ridesharing service.
• Celebrate at home or a place where you can stay until sober.
• Throwing a party? Offer non-alcoholic beverages and plenty of food.
• Never provide alcohol to minors.
• Ask young drivers about their plans.
• Friend or family member about to drive? Take the keys and make alternate arrangements.
Report impaired drivers
If you see an impaired driver, turn off the road away from the vehicle and call 911. Signs of impaired driving include:
• Weaving, swerving, drifting, or straddling the centerline
• Driving at a very slow speed
• Braking erratically
• Making wide turns
• Stopping without cause
• Responding slowly to traffic signals
• Driving after dark with headlights off
• Closely missing an object or vehicle
• Turning abruptly or illegally
• Driving on the wrong side of the road