FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT) — Area law enforcement agencies are conducting a "full-court press" to combat impaired and dangerous driving during St. Patrick’s Day and the NCAA Tournament.
From Feb. 26 through March 21, police will be conducting high-visibility patrols showing zero tolerance for those driving aggressively, over the speed limit, or under the influence.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration through an Indiana Criminal Justice Institute grant will fund overtime patrols.
On average, the NHTSA says drunk-driving crashes claim more than 10,000 lives per year in the U.S.
“Dangerous and impaired driving continues to be a problem especially around high-risk events like St. Patrick’s Day and the NCAA Tournament,” said District Commander of the Indiana State Police Fort Wayne Post Lieutenant Corey Culler. “However you celebrate this year, do so responsibly. Slow down, buckle up, and if you drink, don’t drive. It’s that simple.”
Preliminary data for 2020 from the federal safety agency shows miles traveled had decreased by about 14.5 percent in the first nine months, but overall traffic fatalities increased by 4.6 percent nationwide.
“We’re seeing an uptick in dangerous driving during the pandemic, and it’s very concerning,” said ICJI Executive Director Devon McDonald. “That’s why we’re pulling out all the stops this March to reverse that trend and encourage safe driving behavior. Preventing loss of life is our top priority.”
To avoid the potential for legal fees and criminal charges, the Indiana State Police recommends following these simple steps:
• Slow down and follow all posted speed limits.
• Never drive impaired. If you plan on drinking, plan for a safe, sober ride home.
• Do not tailgate or drive aggressively.
• Put down the phone and avoid distracted driving.
• Buckle up – wear your seatbelt every trip, every time.