During the Labor Day holiday period, including the end of summertime and the busy holiday weekend, the law enforcement community in Marshall County will work to decrease impaired driving. From August 18 through September 5, the Marshall County Traffic Safety Partnershipwill be participating in the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over high-visibility enforcement period.

The extra high-visibility enforcement is funded by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) through the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute (ICJI). 

In support of the law enforcement community’s dedication to protecting the lives of residents in their communities, you’ll see officers working together during this time to take drivers under the influence of drugs or alcohol off the roads. No matter how you plan to celebrate the end of summer this year, make sure you plan to do it safely.

“Drunk and drugged driving is a choice, not an accident. When you get behind the wheel impaired, you are not just risking your own life, but the lives of everyone else on the road,” said Devon McDonald, ICJI Executive Director. “There is no excuse for putting others in danger. Make the responsible choice and plan for a sober ride home.”

About 37 people die in the U.S. in drunk driving crashes every day. That’s approximately one person every 39 minutes and more than 13,384 annually, according to NHTSA. 

Of the 949 traffic fatalities that occurred last year in Indiana, 110, or 12 percent, were alcohol related. While that is a decline from 115 in 2021, there is still a long way to go.

This is why the Marshall County Traffic Safety Partnership is working together with NHTSA to remind drivers that drunk driving is not only illegal; it’s a matter of life and death. As you head out to festivities during the end of summer and Labor Day weekend, remember: Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.

During the 2021 Labor Day holiday period (6 p.m. September 3-5:59 a.m. September 7), there were 531 crash fatalities nationwide. Of these 531 traffic crash fatalities, 41% (216) involved a drunk driver, and more than a quarter (27%) involved drivers who were driving with a BAC almost twice the legal limit (.15+ BAC).

In Indiana, it is illegal to drive with a BAC of .08 or higher. In addition, drivers under 21 with a BAC of .02 or higher are subject to fines and a license suspension for up to one year.  

Impaired driving includes more than just alcohol. Drugs and even some over-the-counter medications can also cause impairment and can slow coordination, judgment and reaction times on the road. 

Officers will be on the lookout for all forms of impairment, in which the consequences can include thousands of dollars in legal fees, increased insurance rates, loss of license, a criminal record and possible jail time. 

There are plenty of options to help impaired drivers get home safely, such as designating a sober driver or calling a taxi or rideshare. Motorists that encounter a drunk driver on the road are encouraged to call 911.

For more information on impaired driving, visit www.nhtsa.gov/risky-driving/drunk-driving.