Overtime patrols to stretch through holidays

From Local Sources

Local law enforcement agencies will be conducting overtime patrols during the holidays, thanks to traffic safety improvement grants from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The funds — $10,250 for the Jasper Police Department, $6,500 for the Huntingburg Police Department and $3,000 for the Dubois County Sheriff’s Office — are being distributed by the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute as part of the state’s “Click It to Live It” program.

Click It to Live It works to promote seat belt usage and reduce impaired driving in an effort to prevent traffic injuries and fatal crashes in Indiana.

“The simple fact is, no matter who you are or what you drive, wearing your seat belt is one of the best ways to keep you and your family safe on the road,” said Jasper Assistant Police Chief Aaron Persohn. “That’s why we’re asking all motorists to Click It to Live It this holiday season. It’s your life. Don’t wait to get pulled over.”

Millions of Americans will travel our nation’s highways during the holidays to visit family and friends. With more vehicles on the road, the ICJI says the chances of being involved in a crash increase greatly.

According to the most recent data available, 53% of passengers killed in fatal crashes were not wearing seat belts and 63.5% of speeding related fatalities were unrestrained. To combat this and save lives, Indiana police agencies stress they are continuing to enforce seat belt, speeding and other traffic laws, especially during the holiday season.

“Why do we enforce traffic laws? To prevent the crashes, injuries and deaths that hurt our community,” said Huntingburg Assistant Police Chief Brad Kramer. “The holidays are all about spending time with friends and family, so don’t miss out on what makes this time of year so great. Buckle up — every seat, every time — and use a sober driver.”

Police announcing the holiday enforcement campaign note 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.

ICJI and the Purdue University Center for Road Safety estimate that in 2019 about 95% of Hoosiers buckle up. But the small amount of drivers and passengers not wearing seat belts made up more than half of Indiana’s fatal crashes.

Parents and caregivers who don’t buckle up are more likely to have unbuckled kids, as adults set the example, according to police. Motor vehicle crashes are a leading and increasing cause of death for children age 14 and younger. In Indiana, all passengers under age 8 must be in an approved car seat or booster seat, and unrestrained children under 16 are the driver’s responsibility.

When it comes to drinking and driving, it is illegal to drive with a blood alcohol content of .08 percent or higher in ever state. In Indiana, drivers under 21 with a BAC of .02 percent or higher are subject to fines and a license suspension for up to one year.

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. Among drivers killed in fatal collisions who had reported drug and alcohol test results, 38% were alcohol impaired and 45% tested positive for one or more drugs.

Anyone taking a new drug or a higher dose is advised to talk with a doctor or don’t drive until they know what effects it has. Even over-the-counter medication can cause impairment, especially when combined with alcohol or a second drug, according to police.

With all of today’s options for getting home safely, authorities say there’s no excuse for getting behind the wheel impaired and endangering yourself and everyone else around you.

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