Results of Drive Sober Or Get Pulled Over holiday blitz in Elkhart County released

(Photo Supplied/Berrien County Sheriff's Office)

The Elkhart County Traffic Safety Partnership has announced the results of the 2020 Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over holiday enforcement blitz, which began mid-December and lasted through the start of 2021.

During the enforcement period, 34 seat belt citations were written, 3 arrests were made for driving while intoxicated, 117 total citations and 81 warnings were issued for various other violations.

More than 200 state and local law enforcement agencies participated in this year’s holiday enforcement campaign, which was funded by National Highway Traffic Safety Administration through the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute. The extra patrols were conducted to improve road safety during the holiday season – one of the deadliest times of the year for the nation’s roads.

According to NHTSA, during the Christmas and New Year’s Day holiday periods in 2018, there were more drunk-driving-related fatalities (285) than during any other holiday period that year in the U.S. In Indiana, there were 415 alcohol-related crashes, resulting in 105 injuries and 11 fatalities in December of 2019.

“What’s so disheartening to think about is that every one of those fatalities could’ve been prevented,” said Devon McDonald, ICJI Executive Director. “Whether you’re going out for dinner and drinks or a casual get together with friends, plan ahead and make arrangements. There’s no excuse for driving under the influence.”

While impaired driving was a focus of the campaign, officers were also on the lookout for unbuckled motorists.

Indiana’s seat belt usage rate continues to be above the national average at 94.6 percent. Despite this, unbuckled motorists made up more than half of the people who were killed in motor vehicle crashes in 2019.

“Wearing a seat belt drastically improves your chances of surviving or walking away from a crash,” said Robert Duckworth, ICJI Traffic Safety Director. “It takes less than a second to put on and could save your life.”

Although the zero-tolerance mobilization is over, the department encourages motorists to drive sober, buckle up and pay attention to the road year-round.

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.

Additionally, the state has a primary seat belt law, which allows law enforcement officers to stop and cite drivers and passengers for failing to wear a seat belt. Drivers can also be cited for each unbuckled passenger under the age of 16. Children under eight must be properly restrained in a federally approved child or booster seat.

The Elkhart County Traffic Safety Partnership includes the following agencies from Elkhart County: Elkhart City Police, Goshen City Police, Elkhart County Sheriff’s Office, Nappanee Police Department, Bristol Police Department, and Wakarusa Police Department.

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George Orwell January 18, 2021 at 2:23 pm

How much money was spent to achieve three DUI’s?

Charles U Farley January 19, 2021 at 4:59 pm

If each of the 200 agencies provided 1 officer for one shift, that’s 1600 hours of pay (possibly overtime pay). Figure $40/hr average, and you literally just asked the $64,000 question.

Doesn’t really seem worth it, does it? Especially when you realize it was likely 5-10 times that amount, since no department does just 8 hours…

The Punisher January 18, 2021 at 2:27 pm

Which of the following criteria was used during this fishing expedition, I me, for making these stops, reasonable suspicion or probable cause. Is this the same county where the drunken police officers were shooting guns on the US 20 bypass?


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