DATE: Friday, June 30, 2017
SUBJECT: Sobriety Checkpoint Planned around 4th of July Holiday
CONTACT: Lt. Noah Robinson
AUTHORITY: Sheriff Dave Wedding

The Evansville-Vanderburgh County Traffic Safety Partnership, the Governor’s Council on Impaired and Dangerous Driving and the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute (ICJI) would like to remind all Indiana motorists to celebrate the Fourth of July responsibly by driving safe and sober.

For as many good memories as the Fourth of July holiday can provide, it can also create recurring nightmares for families. Nationwide, impaired-driving deaths increased by 3 percent in the United States 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 (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.

Sheriff David Wedding explained, “With all the excitement and fun this Fourth of July, keeping an eye on an intoxicated friend may not seem like a priority. Please don’t wait for someone else to take action if a person is about to drive away drunk.” Sheriff Weddng added, “If you plan on drinking, make arrangements to get home beforehand. Do not put your friends and family in the position of having to take your keys.”

Throughout the extended holiday weekend sheriff’s deputies, police officers and state troopers will be conducting saturation patrols looking for drunk drivers. Additionally, the Sheriff’s Office will conduct a sobriety checkpoint on Monday, July 03, 2017 from 11:00 pm until 3:00 am. The location for Monday’s checkpoint was chosen based on local traffic collision data. Analysis of data captured around the Independence Day holiday last year indicated three geographical areas within Vanderburgh County accounted for the majority of reported hit and run crashes. The upcoming checkpoint will be located within one of those areas. Hit and run crashes are often the result of impaired drivers who try to avoid arrest by fleeing the scene.

The Evansville-Vanderburgh County Traffic Safety Partnership conducts sobriety checkpoints in an effort to detect and deter impaired drivers (thereby reducing the occurrence of alcohol and drug related traffic crashes). Funding for saturation patrols and local sobriety checkpoint operations is provided by the ICJI through a grant from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).