Labor Day is starting early this year as far as the police departments are concerned.
On Friday, Aug. 15, the statewide campaign Drunk Driving: Over the Limit, Under Arrest will begin. This is an effort to reduce the number of deaths and injuries on Indiana roadways during the 2008 Labor Day Holiday -- typically between Aug. 31 and Sept. 4.
"As we celebrate this Labor Day, it is important to remember that driving is a privilege and not a right. As responsible drivers, we must all assume accountability for our actions before getting behind the wheel," said Neil Moore, executive director of Indiana Criminal Justice Institute (ICJI). "I especially want to urge all Hoosiers to be proactive by designating a sober driver before celebrating. Exercising this simple precaution could ultimately save a life."
Through high-visibility patrols, sobriety checkpoints and other enforcement efforts designed to deter impaired drivers particularly during the high-risk nighttime hours, law enforcement officers will be on the look-out for those who drive or operate a motor vehicle while impaired or intoxicated.
In 2007, the Labor Day holiday period was the second most deadly time of the year on Indiana roadways, resulting in 11 alcohol-related fatalities and 18 alcohol-related collisions. Data from the 2008 Indiana Traffic Safety Alcohol Fact Sheet indicates that males drivers between the ages of 21 and 29 killed in motor vehicle collisions were legally intoxicated (over .08 blood alcohol content) 43-percent of the time.
"All too often the innocent suffer the tragic, costly and avoidable consequences of drunk driving crashes," said Kitty Greene, Indiana state executive director of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). "Much like this campaign, aggressive, high-visibility enforcement and intense public awareness are also key components of MADD's campaign to eliminate drunk driving."
According to ICJI, alcohol-related motor vehicle crashes kill one person every 31 minutes nationwide. In 2007, 253 individuals were fatally injured in alcohol-related collisions in Indiana. During the same year, 22-percent of all fatally injured drivers and motorcyclists were shows to have a BAC of .08 or above.
Over the Limit, Under Arrest is set to conclude Sept. 1.