Police increasing high-visibility enforcement


During the Labor Day holiday period, including the end of summertime and the busy holiday weekend, the law enforcement community in Jackson County will work to decrease impaired driving.

Now through Sept. 5, the Seymour Police Department is participating in the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over high-visibility enforcement period.

The extra high-visibility enforcement is funded by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration through the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute.

In support of the law enforcement community’s dedication to protecting the lives of residents in their communities, you’ll see officers working together during this time to take drivers under the influence of drugs or alcohol off the roads. No matter how you plan to celebrate the end of summer this year, make sure you plan to do it safely.

“Drunk and drugged driving is a choice, not an accident. When you get behind the wheel impaired, you are not just risking your own life but the lives of everyone else on the road,” said Devon McDonald, executive director of ICJI. “There is no excuse for putting others in danger. Make the responsible choice and plan for a sober ride home.”

About 37 people die in the United States in drunk driving crashes every day. That’s approximately one person every 39 minutes and more than 13,384 annually, according to NHTSA.

Of the 949 traffic fatalities that occurred last year in Indiana, 110, or 12%, were alcohol-related. While that is a decline from 115 in 2021, there is still a long way to go.

This is why the Seymour Police Department is working together with NHTSA to remind drivers that drunk driving is not only illegal. It’s a matter of life and death.

As you head out to festivities during the end of summer and Labor Day weekend, remember: Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.

“We want our community members to know that we are committed to keeping them safe,” SPD Lt. Michael Cooper said. “That’s why we’re asking everyone to plan ahead if they know they’ll be out drinking. Don’t drink and drive. It’s illegal, it’s dangerous and it can ruin lives.”

The Drive Sober campaign is an awareness effort to get the message out about the dangers of drunk driving, he said.

“We need your help to make our community a safer place,” Cooper said. “If you see someone who is driving drunk, call 911. Together, we can put an end to this senseless behavior.”

During the 2021 Labor Day holiday period (6 p.m. Sept. 3 to 5:59 a.m. Sept. 7), there were 531 crash fatalities nationwide. Of these 531 traffic crash fatalities, 41% (216) involved a drunk driver, and more than a quarter (27%) involved drivers who were driving with a blood alcohol content almost twice the legal limit (0.15%+).

In Indiana, it is illegal to drive with a blood alcohol content of 0.08% or higher. In addition, drivers under 21 with a BAC of 0.02% or higher are subject to fines and a license suspension for up to one year.

Impaired driving includes more than just alcohol. Drugs and even some over-the-counter medications also can cause impairment and can slow coordination, judgment and reaction times on the road.

Officers will be on the lookout for all forms of impairment, in which the consequences can include thousands of dollars in legal fees, increased insurance rates, loss of license, a criminal record and possible jail time.

There are plenty of options to help impaired drivers get home safely, such as designating a sober driver or calling a taxi or rideshare. Motorists who encounter a drunk driver on the road are encouraged to call 911.

For information on impaired driving, visit nhtsa.gov/risky-driving/drunk-driving.

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