The La Porte County Sheriff’s Office (LCSO) is increasing patrols as part of the Safe Family Travel holiday enforcement campaign.

Starting this week, deputies will be out in greater numbers showing zero tolerance for anyone driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

The LCSO joins more than 200 participating law enforcement agencies in the campaign, which runs through January 1 of next year. While deputies will be targeting impaired drivers, they will also be on high alert for seat belt violations and other forms of unsafe driving. The goal is to help ensure people make it to and from their celebrations safely.

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

“If you’re out celebrating over the holidays, make sure you have a sober ride home,” said Captain Derek J. Allen. “Driving impaired is costly and could be deadly.  Not only could you kill yourself or someone else in a crash, but you could also face thousands of dollars in legal fees, jail time or a revoked license.  It’s not worth the risk.”

According to early estimates from ICJI, 903 people have died in motor vehicle crashes so far this year in Indiana.  Although still preliminary, this makes 2022 one of only three years in the past decade to break 900 fatalities.  If the pace continues, Indiana could experience one of the deadliest years since the early 2000s.

Data from the institute suggests that impaired driving accounts for a significant portion of those fatalities.  On average, approximately one-fourth of the state’s fatal collisions are caused by drunk drivers every year.

“While this is cause for concern, tragically, driving under the influence tends to be more prevalent during the holiday season,” the La Porte County Sheriff’s Office said.

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