The La Porte County Sheriff’s Office will be conducting overtime patrols during the holidays, thanks to a $49,250 traffic safety improvement grant from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The funds, distributed by the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute, are part of the state’s “Click It to Live It” program, which works to promote seat belt usage and reduce impaired driving – in an effort to prevent traffic injuries and fatal crashes in Indiana.
“The simple fact is, no matter who you are or what you drive, wearing your seat belt is one of the best ways to keep you and your family safe on the road,” said Robert Duckworth, Director of Traffic Safety, ICJI. “That’s why we’re asking all motorists to Click it to Live it this holiday season – it’s your life. Don’t wait to get pulled over.”
Millions of Americans will travel our nation’s highways during the holidays to visit family and friends. With more vehicles on the road, the chances of being involved in a crash increase greatly.
According to the most recent data available, 53% of passengers killed in fatal crashes were not wearing seatbelts and 63.5% of speeding related fatalities were unrestrained. To combat this and save lives, Indiana police agencies will continue to enforce seat belt, speeding and other traffic laws, especially during the holiday season.
“Why do we enforce traffic laws? To prevent the crashes, injuries and deaths that hurt our community,” said Captain Derek J. Allen. “The holidays are all about spending time with friends and family, so don’t miss out on what makes this time of year so great. Buckle up—every seat, every time—and use a sober driver.”
Click it to Live it, It’s your Life
Indiana has a primary seat belt law, meaning that police officers may ticket unrestrained drivers or passengers, even if no other traffic violation has taken place.
ICJI and the Purdue University Center for Road Safety estimate that in 2019 about 95 percent of Hoosiers buckle up. But the small amount of drivers and passengers not wearing seat belts made up more than half of Indiana’s fatal crashes.
Parents and caregivers who don’t buckle up are more likely to have unbuckled kids as adults set the example. Motor vehicle crashes are a leading and increasing cause of death for children age 14 and younger. In Indiana, all passengers under age 8 must be in an approved car seat or booster seat, and unrestrained children under 16 are the driver’s responsibility.
For more information about seat belts visit http://on.IN.gov/buckleup. Choose the safest car seat for your child’s height and weight at https://on.in.gov/therightseat. Find a certified car-seat safety technician to assist with installation at https://on.in.gov/child-seat-tech or through the SaferCar app on iTunes or Google Play.
Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over
NHTSA and ICJI purchased more than 2,600 portable breath test devices for 150 Indiana law-enforcement agencies in 2018 to assist in establishing probable cause when arresting drunk drivers. In every state, it is illegal to drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher. In Indiana, drivers under 21 with a BAC of .02 or higher are subject to fines and a license suspension for up to 1 year.
Impaired driving includes more than alcohol, and there is no quick field test for the many prescription, over-the-counter and illegal drugs that can impair drivers. Among drivers killed in fatal collisions who had reported drug and alcohol test results, 38% were alcohol impaired and 45% tested positive for one or more drugs.
Taking a new drug or a higher dose? Talk with a doctor or don’t drive until you know what effects it has. Even over-the-counter medication can cause impairment, especially when combined with alcohol or a second drug.
With all of today’s options for getting home safely, there’s no excuse for getting behind the wheel impaired as it endangers you and everyone else around you. Law enforcement recommends these safe alternatives to impaired driving:
- Designate, or be, a sober driver.
- Call a cab or a ridesharing service.
- Download the SaferRide mobile app on the Android Play Store or the Apple iTunes Store. This app only has three options: call a taxi, call a friend, and identify your location for pickup.
- Celebrate at home or a place where you can stay until sober.
- Throwing a party? Offer non-alcoholic beverages and plenty of food.
- Never provide alcohol to minors.
- Friend or family member about to drive? Take the keys and make alternate arrangements.