Drive Sober campaign to stretch through Labor Day

By BILL POWELL
bpowell@dcherald.com

A crackdown on impaired drivers by area law enforcement organizations that starts next week will continue as residents bring summer to a close during the Labor Day holiday.

The Dubois County Sheriff’s Office, Jasper Police Department, Huntingburg Police Department and Indiana State Police will be among 230 Hoosier law enforcement agencies participating in the national and statewide 2019 Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over enforcement campaign that runs from mid-August through Labor Day.

Impaired driving continues to be an illegal, unsafe and unwise choice some motorists are making, said Chief Deputy Chris Faulkenberg of the sheriff’s office.

Jasper Assistant Chief Aaron Persohn says police will be on patrol for impaired motorists, so it will be wise to designate a sober driver.

“Any substance that makes you feel different — like legal or illegal drugs and alcohol — can also make you drive different,” Persohn said.

It is illegal to drive in every state and the District of Columbia with a blood alcohol content of .08 grams per deciliter 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.

But impaired driving includes more than alcohol and police note there is no quick field test for the many prescription, over-the-counter and illegal drugs that can impair drivers.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration puts the average cost of an OWI at about $10,000, which includes car towing and repairs, attorney fees, fines, court costs, lost time at work and other hefty expenses.

Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over is an annual enforcement effort supported by federal NHTSA funding allocated to local police agencies through the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute’s traffic safety division. Indiana law enforcement agencies have been actively involved in the Driver Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign for more than 20 years.

The Labor Day holiday — this year Labor Day is Monday, Sept. 2 — is the unofficial end of summer and, local law enforcement officers say, a dangerous time on roadways.

Motorists encountering a suspected drunk driver are urged to call 911. Witnesses should be prepared to give a complete description of the vehicle, including color and make, along with a license plate number, road on which the vehicle is being operated and direction of travel. Callers may remain anonymous.

To stay safe, police offer additional tips:

• Plan a safe way home before festivities begin.

• Before drinking, designate a sober driver and leave your car keys at home. If you’re impaired, call a sober friend or family member or use public transportation when available.

• If you know someone who is about to drive while impaired, take the keys and help that person make other arrangements to get to where he or she is going, safely.

• Celebrate at home or a place where you can stay until sober.

• Never provide alcohol to minors.

• Ask young drivers about their plans.

• Drivers should also watch for impaired pedestrians who may not be paying attention to their surroundings.




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