Hamilton Co. police departments increasing enforcement for impaired driving throughout March

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The Hamilton Co. Traffic Safety Partnership, a consortium of law enforcement agencies including Carmel, Cicero, Fishers, Noblesville and Westfield Police Depts., Indiana State Police, and the Hamilton Co. Sheriff’s Office, along with the Hamilton Co. Prosecutor’s Office, announced today it will join efforts with more than 250 Indiana state and local law enforcement agencies to increase education and enforcement concerning dangerous and impaired driving.

From March 4 through March 27, officers across the state will conduct high-visibility patrols specifically designated to identify and intercept those driving aggressively and under the influence.

“Between Indiana’s deep-rooted basketball pride and the St. Patrick’s Day holiday, much of Indiana celebrates throughout the month of March,” said Hamilton Co. Sheriff Mark Bowen. “Celebrating responsibly is important, and our officers will be out in full force to keep those celebrating as well as everyone else safe. So, if we see you driving dangerously you will be pulled over. If we find you over the limit or impaired, you will be under arrest. Period.”

Increased enforcement during March is a statewide effort supported by federal funding allocated to the Hamilton Co. Traffic Safety Partnership from the Traffic Safety Division of the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute (ICJI). Officers from each of the represented agencies will work overtime to conduct observational patrols around the clock. Sobriety checkpoints are also scheduled during the increased enforcement period.

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 weather conditions,” “driver distracted,” and “driver asleep or fatigued.” Officers also watch for following too closely, disregarding traffic control devices such as stop signs and stop lights, not using turn signals when changing lanes and at intersections, texting while driving and driving faster than posted speed limits as indicators of dangerous driving.

“Keeping our roadways safe is a priority,” said ICJI Executive Director Dave Murtaugh. “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.”

Accidents resulting from dangerous and impaired driving are preventable. The Hamilton Co. Traffic Safety Partnership and ICJI would like to remind motorists safe driving is as simple as following these easy steps:

  • Before the celebration begins, plan a safe way home
  • Do not drive impaired
  • If you do drink, use a taxi, public transportation, ridesharing service or designate a sober friend or family member, and give them your keys
  • If you see a drunk driver on the road, call 911
  • If you know someone who is about to drive or ride impaired, take their keys and help make arrangements to get them home safely

For more on Indiana’s efforts on impaired driving prevention and enforcement, visit www.in.gov/cji/2354.htm.

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