HAMILTON COUNTY, Ind. — With Labor Day weekend coming up, the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office is warning residents against drinking and driving.
The sheriff’s office said deputies will participate in the national Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over enforcement mobilization through September 6. This mobilization is intended to educate motorists about the dangers and consequences of impaired driving.
Deputies will increase patrols, showing zero tolerance for anyone caught driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
“Driving under the influence can have severe and, in some cases, tragic consequences, so we’re asking everyone to plan ahead if they know they’ll be out celebrating,” said Sheriff Dennis Quakenbush. “These tragedies are preventable, and we don’t want to lose anyone this year.”
In Indiana, drunk driving has been on the rise. Of the 898 traffic fatalities that occurred last year in the state, 151, or 17 percent, were alcohol-related. That’s up from 130 in 2019. During Labor Day weekend alone, there were 12 fatal collisions with one involving a driver over the legal limit.
“Impaired driving continues to take a terrible toll on our state and nation,” said Devon McDonald, ICJI Executive Director. “While these overtime patrols are effective and will undoubtedly save lives, we can’t enforce our way out of this issue. It’s up to everyone to drive sober and make smart choices behind the wheel.”
The department said 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. Officers will be on the lookout for all forms of impairment.
To avoid thousands of dollars in legal fees, increased insurance rates, loss of license, a criminal record and possible jail time that can come with an impaired driving arrest, the department encourages people to plan a safe and sober ride home before going out.
Even if only one drink is consumed, designate a sober driver or plan to use a rideshare service, public transportation or taxi. Motorists that encounter a drunk driver on the road are encouraged to call 911.