BOONE COUNTY, Ind. — The Boone County Sheriff’s Department is reminding people to drive responsibly.
This March, the department will participate in a statewide enforcement campaign, conducting high-visibility patrols showing zero-tolerance for those driving aggressively, over the speed limit or under the influence.
“Dangerous and impaired driving continues to be a problem, especially around high-risk events like St. Patrick’s Day and the NCAA Tournament,” said Boone County Sheriff, Michael Nielsen. “However, if you celebrate this year, do so responsibly. Slow down, buckle up and if you drink, don’t drive. It’s that simple.”
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said on average, drunk-driving crashes claim more than 10,000 lives per year in the U.S. Although 2020 was a unique year due to the pandemic, preliminary data from the federal safety agency shows that while miles traveled had decreased by about 14.5 percent in the first nine months, overall traffic fatalities increased by 4.6 percent nationwide.
A separate report released from NHTSA revealed that more road users engaged in risky behaviors in 2020 such as speeding or driving under the influence and that fewer motorists wore seat belts. Despite having fewer drivers on the road in Indiana, 2020 was the third highest year for traffic fatalities (850) in the past decade, according to the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute (ICJI).
“We’re seeing an uptick in dangerous driving during the pandemic, and it’s very concerning,” said Devon McDonald, ICJI Executive Director. “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.”
The overtime patrols are funded by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)
through an Indiana Criminal Justice Institute grant.