WARSAW — Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over. That’s the important reminder coming from the Kosciusko County Traffic Safety Partnership with two of the heaviest drinking events of the year around the corner: St. Patrick’s Day and the NCAA tournament.
All throughout March, officers will be conducting overtime patrols and sobriety checkpoints to prevent dangerous and impaired driving.
This is part of a statewide enforcement campaign, funded by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration through the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute.
“This March, we’re conducting our own full-court press targeting anyone driving under the influence,” said Craig Allebach, Kosciusko County Traffic Safety Partnership grant administrator. “As a basketball state, we want everybody watching the tournament to have a good time, but not at the expense of others. It’s simple: if you plan on drinking, don’t drive.”
According to representatives with the ICJI, in March 2019, there were 433 alcohol-related crashes across Indiana, resulting in 205 injuries and five fatalities. Of those, 65 crashes and one fatality occurred during the St. Patrick’s Day holiday weekend alone.
“St. Patrick’s Day is one of, if not the, biggest drinking days of the year,” said Robert Duckworth, ICJI traffic safety director. “If you’re out celebrating, make the right choice and find a sober driver to get you and your friends home safely. Luck won’t keep you out of jail if you’re caught driving under the influence.”
Impaired driving isn’t the only risk on the road in March, according to ICJI representatives. Dangerous driving, which includes factors such as speeding too fast for weather conditions and aggressive driving, is also a concern and is something Kosciusko County Traffic Safety Partnership officers will be watching for throughout the mobilization.
The following list includes several safety tips to prevent impaired driving this March:
- Before the celebration begins, plan a safe way home.
- Never drive impaired.
- Remember, buzzed driving is drunk driving.
- If you do drink, use a taxi, public transportation, ride-sharing service or designate a sober friend or family member and give them your keys.
- If you see a drunk driver on the road, call 911.
- If you know someone who is about to drive or ride impaired, take their keys and help make arrangements to get them home safely.