Crackdown coincides with St. Patrick’s Day

From Local Sources

Area police and law enforcement agencies across the state will increase dangerous and impaired driving patrols during an enforcement blitz that coincides with basketball’s March Madness and St. Patrick’s Day.

The Jasper Police Department, Huntingburg Police Department, Dubois County Sheriff’s Office and Indiana State Police will conduct high-visibility saturation patrols designed to identify and intercept those driving aggressively and under the influence in a crackdown during March.

“This March, we’re conducting our own full-court press targeting anyone driving under the influence,” said Jasper Assistant Chief Aaron Persohn. “As a basketball state, we want everybody watching the tournament to have a good time, but not at the expense of others.

“It’s simple: If you plan on drinking, don’t drive.”

The statewide enforcement campaign is funded by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration through the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute.

Many people watch March Madness or celebrate St. Patrick’s Day from a bar or pub in what police say are two of the heaviest drinking events of the year. Law enforcement agencies want those celebrating that way to tab a sober driver, cab or ride-sharing service to get home safely.

Last year, according to ICJI, there were 433 alcohol-related crashes across Indiana in March that resulted in 205 injuries and five fatalities. Of those, 65 crashes (15%) and one fatality occurred during the St. Patrick’s Day holiday weekend alone.

Authorities stress that impaired driving isn’t the only risk on the road in March. Dangerous driving, which includes factors such as speeding too fast for weather conditions and aggressive driving, is also a concern and something local police officers will be watching for throughout the mobilization.

Last March, the Dubois County Sheriff’s Office issued 15 traffic citations and made one arrest during a similar 24-day traffic enforcement mobilization. Jasper officers worked 52 hours of overtime and made 136 traffic stops.

The Jasper police officers issued 157 written warnings and 18 traffic tickets during the traffic-enforcement mobilization, making one warrant arrest in the process.

In other results from the 2019 campaign in conjunction with St. Patrick’s Day and March Madness, Indiana State Police troopers from the Jasper Post were joined by officers from the sheriff’s office, Huntingburg Police Department, Jasper Police Department and Ferdinand Police Department for a sobriety checkpoint that processed 41 vehicles. One minor was charged with impaired driving and several other minors were charged with misdemeanor counts of marijuana possession and minor in possession of tobacco.

Also during that checkpoint, police issued 52 warnings, wrote 37 tickets, administered six portable breath tests and conducted one K-9 search.

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 one year.

Anyone who observes erratic driving is encouraged to call 911 and be prepared to give as much detailed information as possible, such as color and make of vehicle, license plate number, which roadway is being traveled and the direction of travel.

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