Indiana State Police officers will be on the lookout for impaired and unbuckled motorists during the 2020 holiday season

Last Updated on December 17, 2020 by Indiana State Police

SOURCE: News release from Indiana State Police

Peru, IN — Troopers working from the Indiana State Police Peru Post will be increasing overtime patrols during the Christmas and New Year’s driving period. This is part of the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over national enforcement mobilization that starts today through  January 1. Officers will be searching for impaired drivers, whether it’s alcohol or drugs. Officers will also be on the lookout for unbuckled motorists.

The patrols are funded by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and dispersed to Indiana law enforcement agencies by the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute.

“Catching and arresting impaired drivers is a year round priority for the Indiana State Police,” stated Lt. T.J. Zeiser, commander of the Indiana State Police Peru Post. “Officers will be out in greater numbers, during the holiday season, looking for the few that endanger the many by driving drunk or drugged. Troopers request that Hoosier do the right thing by having a sober driver for every trip.”

Statistics show the holiday driving season is one of the deadliest times of the year for impaired-driving fatalities. According to NHTSA, during the Christmas and New Year’s Day holiday periods in 2018, there were 285 drunk-driving-related fatalities in the United States. In December of 2019, Indiana had 415 alcohol-related crashes, resulting in 105 injuries and 11 fatalities.

In every state it is illegal to drive with a blood alcohol concentration level (BAC) of .08 or higher. In Indiana, drivers under the age of 21, that have a BAC of .02 or higher, are subject to fines and a license suspension up to one year.

Impaired driving includes more than alcohol. Illegal drugs and even some over-the-counter and prescription medications can also cause impairment. Narcotics can slow coordination, judgment and reaction times while driving.

To further save lives and prevent traffic fatalities, officers will also be watching for seat belt violations. According to NHTSA, from 1975 to 2017, seat belts have saved an estimated 374,196 lives. While Indiana’s seat belt usage rate is above the national average of 90.7 %, more than half of the people who were killed in motor vehicle crashes, in 2019,  were unbuckled.

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. Children under eight years of age must be properly restrained in a federally approved child safety or booster seat.