Police release Labor day enforcement totals


While Dubois County residents soaked up the last bit of summer over the past month, local law enforcement was working overtime to curb drunk drivers.

Local agencies, including the Jasper Police Department, Huntingburg Police Department, Dubois County Sheriff’s Office and Indiana State Police, participated in the national and statewide 2021 Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over enforcement campaign. From Aug. 18 through Labor Day, officers increased patrols to deter impaired driving.

The Indiana Criminal Justice Institute funded overtime hours for the campaign. Increased enforcement typically includes high-visibility saturation patrols and sobriety checkpoints. Officers also watched for speeding and seatbelt violations during this period.

Over the 20-day period, Jasper Police Department officers worked 35 overtime hours. They stopped 106 vehicles, issued 13 citations, wrote 128 traffic warnings and made one arrest for driving while suspended/prior.

From Sept. 2 to Sept. 7, ISP recorded 109 OWI charges and 64 OWI defendants, according to David Henderson, public information officer for the Indiana State Police Jasper Post. ISP issued several reminders about refraining from impaired driving before and during the campaign.

Huntingburg Police Assistant Chief Brad Kramer said the period was relatively calm in their area and didn’t recall any OWIs. The campaign is still important though, he said.

“Driving under the influence can have severe and, in some cases, tragic consequences,” he said in an August post on the department’s Facebook. “These tragedies are preventable, and we don’t want to lose anyone this year.”

Statistics from the sheriff’s office weren’t immediately available, although it posted about the campaign, as well.

Every day, about 28 people in the U.S. die in drunk driving crashes, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. That’s about one person every 52 minutes.

In Indiana, 151 of the 898 of the traffic deaths last year — or 17% — were alcohol related. In 2019, there were 130.

State law says it is illegal to drive with a BAC of .08 or higher, and drivers under 21 with a BAC of .02 or higher can receive fines and a license suspension for up to a year. Although the campaign urges people to “Drive Sober,” it’s meant to crack down on all impaired driving, including drugs and even some over-the-counter medications.

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. However, 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.

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