INDIANAPOLIS — It’s a weekend full of celebration as St. Patrick’s day and March Madness meet. 

“Impaired driving is definitely an issue with those two things combined,” said Executive Director at the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute Devon McDonald.

McDonald said from March 10 through April 4, more than 150 agencies statewide are cracking down on aggressive and dangerous driving.

“These officers are doing what they always do,” McDonald said. “However, the difference is that these are overtime hours. These are additional patrols or additional hours these officers are working on top of their normal workload.”

The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department believes that even just slowing down can make a difference when it comes to safe driving.

“We cannot harp on it enough for people to slow down,” said IMPD PIO Genae Cook. “This is going to minimize the amount of crashes that occur and the damage from these crashes including people’s lives.”

According to the ICJI, 941 people were killed in crashes in 2021, which is 16% higher than in 2019. 

“About two and a half people per day,” said McDonald.

The impaired driving blitz is funded through grants from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Law enforcement says the four main issues causing an increase in fatalities are speeding, not wearing a seatbelt, and distracted and impaired driving.

“When there are crashes there is often more than one fatality involved in a single crash,” said McDonald.

Officials said they are asking that Hoosies plan ahead before going out. 

“We encourage people to use some type of a rideshare program or make sure you have a designated driver or plan to stay where you are at for the night,” said Cook.

ICJI also offers “Sober Ride Indiana“, which offers Hoosiers up to $15 dollars for a Lyft or Uber between 5 p.m. and 3 a.m. while supplies last.