Increased police patrols planned for March Madness and St. Patrick’s Day

The Indiana State Police and the Cass County Traffic Safety Partnership is joining law-enforcement agencies across Indiana this March to increase dangerous and impaired driving patrols for the NCAA Tournament and St. Patrick’s Day.

Last year, the weekend beginning St. Patrick’s Day had the highest number of crashes involving impaired drivers. With March 17, 2018 falling on a Saturday, police are conducting random patrols, saturation patrols and sobriety checkpoints intended to make roads safer.

If you’re watching March Madness or celebrating St. Patrick’s Day from a bar or pub, draft a sober driver, cab or ridesharing service to get home safely, ” said Deputy Joe Nies. “Our officers are trained to spot – and there will be zero tolerance for – impaired and dangerous drivers.

“This is when we celebrate a time honored Hoosier tradition, March Madness and basketball,” said Indiana State Police Superintendent Doug Carter. “However if you drink, your plans should include a designated driver, ride sharing program, or taxi to get you home safely from your celebration. Troopers will be out looking for those drivers who fail to heed this advice and will provide another form of transportation to those drivers; but it won’t be to their home.”

The top causes of all Indiana traffic crashes are drivers following too closely and failing to yield the right of way. Aggressive, distracted and impaired driving reduce reaction times to unexpected slow traffic, bicycles and pedestrians.

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 are subject to fines and a license suspension for up to 1 year.

Last year the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute and National Highway Transportation Safety Administration purchased 1,759 new portable breath tests for Indiana law enforcement agencies. An additional 836 devices will be purchased this year.

But unlike alcohol, there is no quick field test for the legal and illegal drugs that can impair drivers. ICJI and NHTSA are issuing Android tablets and apps to assist 185 highly-trained police officers in the recognition and enforcement of drug-impaired driving.

If you’re taking a new drug or higher dose, talk with your doctor or don’t drive until you know how it affects you. Even over-the-counter medication like cold medicine or sleep aids may cause impairment, especially when combined with alcohol or a second drug.

Experience different perspectives on an impaired-driving crash scene in 360 degrees at

SOURCE: News release from Cass County Sheriff’s Department