News From Terre Haute, Indiana

March 8, 2013

EDITORIAL: A timely crackdown

Remind yourself to keep the ‘me’ out of ‘DUI’

The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — A couple of days ago in this space, we raised the issue of an increased teen fatality rate in Indiana during the first six months of last year. It is a disturbing trend that requires vigilance and renewed energy to address.

Lest anyone think that the behavior of distracted teenage drivers is the only thing to fear on roadways, it’s only fair to acknowledge that it’s not.

Fortunately, the Indiana State Police and other law enforcement agencies in the state are demonstrating that they have no intention of letting other highway-safety trouble areas slide.

According to the Associated Press, police throughout Indiana will take part in a 17-day effort to crack down on drunken driving starting today.

The campaign is known as “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” and is aimed at keeping people from driving drunk or impaired following a number of March sporting events and St. Patrick’s Day festivities. The effort runs through Sunday, March 24.

The ISP is teaming with officers from more than 250 Indiana law enforcement agencies in this crackdown. That represents a show of force that should get the public’s attention. The high-visibility enforcement effort includes sobriety checkpoints and saturation patrols through virtually every area of the state.

Drunken driving has received a lot of attention through the years for its deadly consequences. What’s more, those efforts have resulted in significant declines in drunken-driving related crashes.

But it remains an ongoing battle, and the month of March is a trouble spot.

The Indiana Criminal Justice Institute reports that Indiana had nearly 6,300 alcohol-related crashes last year with 97 fatalities. During the month of March, it had 524 alcohol-related crashes and six fatalities.

If the prospect of being nailed by police at a sobriety checkpoint in the next two weeks has you feeling a little paranoid about having a drink or two and getting behind the steering wheel of a motor vehicle, we have only one word to say: Good.

We applaud law enforcement agencies for their efforts to keep drunken-driving enforcement and awareness top of mind for Hoosier motorists.