DATE: Monday, March 09, 2015
SUBJECT: March Aggressive and Impaired Driving Enforcement
CONTACT: Lt. Noah Robinson
AUTHORITY: Sheriff Dave Wedding

During a news conference held at F.J. Reitz High School earlier today, representatives of the Evansville-Vanderburgh County Traffic Safety Partnership (which includes the Vanderburgh County Sheriff’s Office and the Evansville Police Department) along with the Indiana State Police announced details about and answered questions related to an upcoming aggressive driving and impaired driving enforcement program. This high-visibility enforcement effort will be known as Operation “BLAST” (Basketball, Leprechauns and Spring Time) and will run from Monday, March 09 through Tuesday, March 31, 2015. This increased enforcement effort will encompass spring break, St. Patrick’s Day and many March sporting events.

Data assembled by the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute (ICJI) and the Indiana University Public Policy Institute (PPI) indicated that in 2013 Vanderburgh County had the highest young driver collision rate of any county in the state. Sheriff Wedding explained, “Out of all 92 counties, Vanderburgh was number one for young driver collisions in 2013 with a rate just over 205 per 1,000 young drivers. Our seatbelt compliance rate is over 96%, but this good news is overshadowed by the fact that over 20% of our local drivers ages 15-20 wrecked their cars in 2013”.

Last March the Sheriff’s Office and the Police Department recorded 87 crashes in which at least one person was injured. While “Following Too Close” was the most frequently listed cause of the collisions, many other common causes were noted. Six (6) crashes were caused by “Excessive Speed”, eight (8) were caused by “Disregarding a Traffic Signal”, five (5) were caused by “Improper Passing” and twenty (20) were caused by “Failure to Yield Right of Way”.

March is a busy time of year with students on spring break, NCAA basketball fans travelling to and from their favorite pub and St. Patrick’s Day celebrants enjoying a night out. The Evansville-Vanderburgh County Traffic Safety Partnership wants to keep everyone driving safe and driving sober this month. The March aggressive driving and impaired driving enforcement operation will consist of saturation patrols and may include a DUI checkpoint as part of a comprehensive effort to promote safe driving behavior and curb drunk driving. If you plan to drink alcohol, please don’t drive. Designate a sober driver beforehand. If you are impaired, use a taxi service or call a sober friend or family member.

Enhanced local enforcement is made possible by funding provided by the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute through a grant from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Pictured above: The Vanderburgh County Sheriff’s Office, Evansville Police Department and Indiana State Police with some F.J. Reitz High School students during today’s press conference.

Pictured above: Rate of crashes per 1,000 licensed young drivers in 2013 throughout Indiana.  Vanderburgh County had the highest rate at 205.5 per 1,000.