DATE: Thursday, March 03, 2016
SUBJECT: March Dangerous & Impaired Driving Enforcement Blitz
CONTACT: Lt. Noah Robinson
AUTHORITY: Sheriff Dave Wedding

During a news conference 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 the upcoming statewide March Dangerous and Impaired Driving Enforcement Blitz. This high-visibility enforcement effort, also known as Operation Pull Over Blitz #85, will run from Friday, March 04 through Sunday, March 27. This increased enforcement effort will encompass St. Patrick’s Day and many March sporting events.

Lt. Noah Robinson stated, “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. Our Traffic Safety Partnership just wants to keep everyone driving safe and driving sober.” This impaired driving and aggressive driving enforcement campaign will consist of saturation patrols and will include a DUI checkpoint as part of a comprehensive effort to promote safe driving behavior and curb drunk driving. Anyone found to be driving impaired will be arrested.

According to ICJI, in March 2015 there were 529 alcohol-related crashes across Indiana, resulting in 214 injuries and five fatalities. Additionally, during the same period, crash reports indicate 1,606 collisions occurred due to dangerous driving, resulting in 332 injuries and four fatalities. Dangerous driving includes such factors as “speed too fast for conditions,” “driver distracted,” and “driver asleep or fatigued.”

Locally there were eleven (11) people injured in six (6) separate traffic crashes this past March. The most severe crash sent three occupants to the hospital with serious injuries that were a direct result of a driver whose blood alcohol content was two-and-one-half times the legal limit of .08.

In a statewide news release ICJI Executive Director Dave Murtaugh stated, “Keeping our roadways safe is a priority.” Director Murtaugh added, “Our dedicated officers who patrol our roadways all across the state are the first line of defense. Motorists need to do their part to ensure our roadways are safe by making responsible choices. From watching the basketball tournament action to taking part in St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, it’s up to you to be safe and responsible. If you are going to drink, do not drive. It’s that simple.”

If you plan to drinking alcohol, designate a sober driver beforehand. If you are impaired, use a taxi service or call a sober friend or family member. If you see motorist who is operating in an unsafe manner or you suspect of driving while impaired, please call 911 immediately. Be prepared to report the location, description, and direction the vehicle is traveling.

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