DATE: Monday, February 28th
SUBJECT: Blitz 112
CONTACT: Lt. Matt Corn
AUTHORITY: Sheriff Dave Wedding

Starting this week, the Vanderburgh County Sheriff’s Office will be stepping up patrols to help curb dangerous and aggressive driving. The enforcement campaign will run from Friday, Feb. 25, 2022, through Monday, March 21, 2022. The safety initiative is designed to reduce crashes and traffic fatalities and to promote safe driving around St. Patrick’s Day and the NCAA Tournament. It also comes at a time when roadway deaths continue to climb across the state and nation.

In response, officers will be conducting high-visibility patrols over the next several weeks, showing zero tolerance for anyone driving aggressively, over the speed limit or under the influence. The extra enforcement is funded through National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) grants administered by the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute (ICJI).

“Choices behind the wheel matter.  Anyone that makes the decision to drive recklessly or impaired, presents a serious threat to the public,” said Sheriff Dave Wedding. All it takes is one mistake to get someone seriously injured. We’re asking all drivers to make smart decisions and work with us to keep our community safe.”

Nationwide, traffic fatalities continued to rise at a record pace last year, according to newly released federal data. NHTSA projects that an estimated 31,720 people were killed on U.S. roadways in the first nine months of 2021, a 12% increase from the same period in 2020. In Indiana, preliminary data from ICJI shows that 941 people died in fatal crashes last year. While that’s up 5% from 2020, it’s a 16% increase from pre-pandemic 2019 and represents the highest number of traffic fatalities since 2005. Alcohol, drug impairment, distracted driving, speeding and not wearing seat belts are some of the leading causes behind the rise in fatalities.

Motorists are encouraged to call 911 if they encounter an impaired or unsafe driver on the road.