INDIANAPOLIS (WANE) Friday marks the start of the annual “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign involving police departments across the country and here in Indiana. The enforcement blitz runs through Wednesday, July 5.
According to the National HIghway Transportation Safety Administration, impaired driving deaths in the U.S. increased by 3 percent from 2014 to a total of 10,265 in 2015.
“That’s 10,265 mothers, fathers, children, siblings, friends, grandparents, and so many more,” said Dave Murtaugh, executive director of the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute. “It’s one person killed every 51 minutes in the United States.”
During the 2016 July Fourth holiday weekend which ran from 6 p.m. Friday, July 1 through 6 a.m. Monday, July 5, there were 146 drug or alcohol-related crashes, 85 of which involved a driver with a reported blood alcohol concentration of .08 or greater. Crashes involving alcohol or prescription and illegal drugs during this period resulted in 82 injuries and 6 deaths.
Nationwide, five years of data show that nearly 40 percent of all traffic fatalities during the holiday resulted from impaired-driving crashes.
According to a press release from Indiana State Police, the average DUI costs the offender about $10,000 which includes vehicle impound, attorney fees, fines, court costs, lost time at work and other expenses.
Tips for a safe and fun holiday
Law Enforcement recommends these safe alternatives to impaired driving:
- Remember that Buzzed Driving Is Drunk 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 simple 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. About half of drivers killed in impaired crashes during the July Fourth holiday are 18 to 34 years old.
- Friend or family member about to drive? Take the keys and make alternate arrangements.
Impaired driving is three times more common at night than during the day. If you see the signs of impaired driving below, turn off the road away from the vehicle and call 911 report the driver.
- 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