Police across Indiana cracking down on impaired driving during 2023 Independence Day holiday 

Last Updated on June 26, 2023 by Indiana Criminal Justice Institute

INDIANAPOLIS — Law enforcement agencies across the state will be on the lookout for impaired drivers around the Independence Day holiday. 

The agencies will take part in the national Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over enforcement mobilization to educate motorists about the dangers and consequences of impaired driving. From June 30 until July 8, officers will be increasing patrols with the primary goal of preventing tragedies previously seen around the July 4th holiday. 

The extra high-visibility enforcement is funded by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) through the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute (ICJI). 

“Impaired driving is a serious problem that claims the lives of thousands of people each year in our state and nation. While increased enforcement efforts can help to reduce impaired driving, we cannot simply arrest our way out of this problem,” said Devon McDonald, Executive Director of the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute. “We need to work together to raise awareness of the dangers of impaired driving and encourage people to make smart choices when they drink. If you are going to drink, please designate a sober driver or call a taxi. It is not worth risking your life or the lives of others.” 

About 37 people die in the U.S. in drunk driving crashes every day. That’s approximately one person every 39 minutes and more than 13,384 annually, according to NHTSA. 

Of the 949 traffic fatalities that occurred last year in Indiana, 110, or 12 percent, were alcohol related. While that is a decline from 115 in 2021, there is still a long way to go. During the weekend around Independence Day alone, there were 11 fatal collisions with two involving a driver over the legal limit.  

In Indiana, it is illegal to drive with a BAC of .08 or higher. In addition, drivers under 21 with a BAC of .02 or higher are subject to fines and a license suspension for up to one year.  

Impaired driving includes more than just alcohol. Drugs and even some over-the-counter medications can also cause impairment and can slow coordination, judgment and reaction times on the road. 

In Indiana, police are seeing an increasing number of people driving drug-impaired, especially under the influence of cannabis. In the first quarter of 2023, half of the tests given for drug-impaired driving came back positive for one or more substances. More than 60% of those positive tests were poly-drug, or more than one drug detected. 

“The number of drivers testing positive for THC and poly-drug use is on the rise. This is a serious problem that can have deadly consequences,” said Jim Bryan, Traffic Safety Director for the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute. “We are working to address this issue by training more officers in advanced detection techniques and providing new tools to law enforcement. However, the best way to prevent impaired driving is for people to not drive high or under the influence of any drugs. If you are going to drink or use drugs, make sure you have a plan to get home safely. Call a cab, ride-share service, or a friend or family member to pick you up. Don’t risk your life and the lives of others by driving impaired.” 

To further prevent drunk driving, ICJI’s Sober Ride Indiana program is running a special holiday campaign in Ft. Wayne and Indianapolis. From June 29 through July 4, the program is offering $15 off Uber and Lyft rides up to 500 redemptions per day.  

Ride credits are only available between the hours of 5 p.m. and 3 a.m. while supplies last. To redeem a discounted ride, visit SoberRideIndiana.com.  

This 4th of July and every day, Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over. For more information on impaired driving, visit www.nhtsa.gov/risky-driving/drunk-driving

SOURCE: News release from Indiana Criminal Justice Institute

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