The La Porte City Police Department is joining about 230 law-enforcement agencies across Indiana and thousands nationwide in the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over mobilization. From mid-August through Labor Day, police will be out in full force arresting impaired drivers. Expect to see increased sobriety checkpoints, roving patrols and saturation patrols.
“Why are we giving drivers a heads up? Because Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over is all about preventing impaired-driving crashes, injuries and deaths,” said Captain Pat Hemphill. “Our officers have zero tolerance for impaired drivers on our roads, and we’ll see you before you see us.”
A driving while intoxicated (DWI) arrest means going to jail and losing your driver’s license. The average DWI cost? About $10,000, including car towing and repairs, attorney fees, fines, court costs, lost time at work and other hefty expenses.
Indiana law-enforcement agencies have participated in annual Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over traffic enforcement for more than 20 years. Overtime patrols are supported with National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) funds distributed by the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute (ICJI). For more information, visit http://on.IN.gov/drivesober.
New impaired-driving equipment
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 or higher are subject to fines and a license suspension for up to 1 year.
NHTSA and ICJI recently purchased more than 2,600 portable breath tests to assist 150 Indiana law-enforcement agencies with establishing probable cause in arresting drunk drivers.
But DWI includes more than alcohol, and there is no quick field test for the many prescription, over-the-counter and illegal drugs that can impair drivers. This year, the police officers highly trained to recognize and enforce drug-impaired driving were issued Android tablets to simplify documentation for prosecution.
Tips for a safe and fun season
The annual Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over enforcement campaign includes the Labor Day weekend, with thousands upon thousands of Hoosier families taking to their cars for end-of-summer barbecues, football games, lakes and pool parties. Sadly, it is also one of the deadliest times of year for impaired-driving deaths.
With all of today’s options for getting home safely, there’s no excuse for getting behind the wheel impaired as it endangers you and everyone else around you. Law enforcement recommends these safe alternatives to impaired driving:
• Designate, or be, a sober driver.
• Use public transportation.
• Call a cab or a ridesharing service.
• Download the SaferRide mobile app on the Android Play Store or the Apple iTunes Store. This app only has three options: call a taxi, call a friend, and identify your location for pickup.
• Celebrate at home or a place where you can stay until sober.
• Throwing a party? Offer non-alcoholic beverages and plenty of food.
• Never provide alcohol to minors.
• Ask young drivers about their plans.
• Friend or family member about to drive? Take the keys and make alternate arrangements.
Ride Sober or Get Pulled Over
Motorcycle riders have the reputation for being tough, but no one is tough enough to withstand the effects of impaired riding. Motorcycles are about 3 percent of registered vehicles, but are dramatically overrepresented in fatal crashes involving alcohol. And the more that bikers drink, the less likely they are to wear their helmets.
Report impaired drivers
Impaired driving is three times more common at night than during the day. If you see an impaired driver, turn off the road away from the vehicle and call 911. Signs of impaired driving include:
• Weaving, swerving, drifting, or straddling the center line
• Driving at a very slow speed
• Braking erratically
• Making wide turns
• Stopping without cause
• Responding slowly to traffic signals
• Driving after dark with headlights off
• Almost striking an object or vehicle
• Driving on the wrong side of the road
• Turning abruptly or illegally