Chesterton Tribune



Duneland police officers to look for drunk drivers in next blitz

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From mid-August through Labor Day, the Northern Porter County Traffic Safety Partnership (NPCTSP)--comprised of the Chesterton, Porter, Burns Harbor, and Ogden Dunes police departments--will be out in force as part of the annual nationwide “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” crackdown on drunk driving.

Indiana’s high-visibility enforcement effort, also known as Operation Pull Over Blitz 76, will run from Aug. 16 through Sept. 2.

The drunk driving crackdown will also consist of saturation patrols, OWI checkpoints, and other high-profile events, and will be supported by state and national paid advertising.

“Every year, about one-third of all motor vehicle traffic deaths involve one or more drunk drivers or motorcycle operators,” said Lt. Dave Lohse of the CPD.

In 2012, there were 5,152 alcohol-related traffic crashes in Indiana, where impairment at 0.08 or above was listed as the contributing factor. These crashes resulted in 158 fatalities, 246 serious bodily injuries, and 1,866 other injuries (a total of 2,112 non-fatal injuries).

Among motorcyclists, in 2012 in Indiana, there were 209 collisions involving an alcohol-impaired motorcycle or moped operator, 32 alcohol-impaired motorcycle operator fatalities, and 144 alcohol-impaired motorcycle operator non-fatal injuries.

Lohse noted that holidays such as the Labor Day holiday are particularly dangerous.

During the 2012 Labor Day holiday period (Aug. 31-Sept. 4), there were 115 alcohol-related crashes in Indiana. During last year’s Labor Day Crackdown, 14,655 citations were issued and 669 misdemeanor and 106 felony OWI charges were filed.

Lohse said the NPCTSP will be aggressively looking for drunk drivers during the crackdown and will arrest anyone caught driving drunk.

Drunk driving takes a particularly heavy toll among young drivers. The age group 21-24 accounts for the highest rate of alcohol impaired drivers per 10,000 licenses for both males and females at 31.4 percent and 11.1 percent, respectively. Overall, the male rate of impaired driving collisions per 10,000 licenses is nearly three times higher than the female rate, 13.0 to 4.4, respectively.

“Research has shown that high-visibility enforcement like the 'Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over' campaign reduces drunk driving fatalities by as much as 20 percent,” Lohse said. “By joining this nationwide effort, we will make Duneland’s roadways safer for everyone throughout the Labor Day period.”

“We want to remind everyone that getting behind the wheel drunk is a terrible idea,” Lohse added. “Unfortunately, not only does drinking impair your ability to operate a vehicle safely, it also impairs your judgment and good sense about whether you can, or should drive. If you have any doubt about your sobriety, do not get behind the wheel. If you do choose to drive impaired, you will be arrested. No warnings. No excuses.”

Lohse reminded folks that an OWI arrest brings a wide range of negative consequences into one’s life. Drunk drivers face jail time, loss of their driver licenses, and steep financial consequences such as higher insurance rates, attorney fees, court costs, lost time at work, and the potential loss of job. When family, friends and co-workers find out, violators also often face tremendous personal embarrassment. “Driving drunk is simply not worth the risk,” he said. “So don’t take the chance. Remember, we will be out in force and we will be watching, so ‘Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.’”



Posted 8/13/2013