Tips to Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over on Fort Wayne-area roads

Fort Wayne Police Sgt. Jon Bonar escorts a driving while intoxicated suspect to a squad car to be taken for an official breath analysis test. (News-Sentinel.com file photo)

Police officers throughout Allen County will be keeping sharp eyes out for drunken drivers now until Labor Day, and have new equipment to help them justify arrests.

The Allen County Traffic Safety Partnership, comprised of the Fort Wayne, Allen County, New Haven and Woodburn police departments, is joining about 230 law-enforcement agencies across Indiana and thousands nationwide in the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over mobilization.

From mid-August through Sept. 3 police will be out in full force to arrest impaired drivers, according to a news release. Expect to see increased sobriety checkpoints, roving patrols and saturation patrols, it says.

“Why are we giving drivers a heads up?” said Fort Wayne Police Department Lt. Tony Maze in the release. “Because Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over is all about preventing impaired-driving crashes, injuries and deaths. Our officers have zero tolerance for impaired drivers on our roads, and we’ll see you before you see us.”

In every state, it is illegal to drive with a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.08 or higher. Police warn that a driving while intoxicated (DWI) conviction means jail time and loss of your driver’s license. The average DWI case costs about $10,000, including car towing and repairs, attorney fees, fines, court costs, lost time at work and other hefty expenses, according to the release.

Motorcycles are about 3 percent of registered vehicles, but are dramatically overrepresented in fatal crashes involving alcohol, according to the release.

In Indiana, drivers under 21 with a BAC of 0.02 or higher are subject to fines and a license suspension for up to 1 year.

New impaired-driving equipment

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Indiana Criminal Justice Institute recently brought more than 2,600 portable breath tests to help 150 Indiana law-enforcement agencies to establish probable cause in arresting drunken drivers.

DWI also includes many prescriptions, over-the-counter and illegal drugs that can impair drivers. This year, the police officers were issued Android tablets to simplify documentation for prosecution, according to the release.

Indiana law-enforcement agencies have participated in annual Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over traffic enforcement for more than 20 years. Overtime patrols are supported with money from National Highway Traffic Safety Administration distributed by the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute. For more information, visit http://on.IN.gov/drivesober.

Tips for a safe and fun season

Law enforcement recommends these safe alternatives to impaired driving:

• Designate, or be, a sober driver.

• Use public transportation.

• Call a cab or a ride-sharing service.

• Download the SaferRide mobile app on the Android Play Store or the Apple iTunes Store. This app only has three options: call a taxi, call a friend, and identify your location for pickup.

• Celebrate at home or a place where you can stay until sober.

• Throwing a party? Offer non-alcoholic beverages and plenty of food.

• Never provide alcohol to minors.

• Ask young drivers about their plans.

• Friend or family member about to drive? Take the keys and make alternate arrangements.

Report impaired drivers

Impaired driving is three times more common at night than during the day, according to the release, which suggests turning off the road away from the vehicle and calling 911. Signs of impaired driving include:

• Weaving, swerving, drifting, or straddling the center line

• Driving at a very slow speed

• Braking erratically

• Making wide turns

• Stopping without cause

• Responding slowly to traffic signals

• Driving after dark with headlights off

• Almost striking an object or vehicle

• Driving on the wrong side of the road

• Turning abruptly or illegally

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