BREMEN — Drive sober or get pulled over.
That is the warning coming from the Indiana State Police as it gears up to participate in an end-of-summer impaired driving enforcement campaign. Starting this weekend through Labor Day, officers will be increasing patrols designed to target those driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
The extra high-visibility enforcement is funded by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) through grants administered by the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute (ICJI).
Alcohol-impaired traffic fatalities have increased over the past few years, as have other dangerous driving behaviors, fueling a nationwide surge in roadway deaths. It’s an unfortunate trend that doesn’t appear to be slowing.
Newly released data from NHTSA shows that an estimated 9,560 people died in motor vehicle crashes in the first quarter of 2022. That’s up 7% from the previous year and the highest number of deaths in 20 years for that period.
In Indiana, traffic fatalities increased by more than 20% during that time compared to 2021. If the pace continues, 2022 could be the third straight year with more fatalities, following 897 in 2020 and 931 in 2021.
“People who drive drunk or high aren’t thinking about the repercussions,” said Devon McDonald, ICJI executive director. “It’s not just their life they’re risking, but the life of the person in the car next to them and the pedestrian crossing the street. No one ‘accidentally’ drives impaired. It’s always a choice.”