(UNDATED) – The Month of December is National Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month.
Washington County Sheriff Brent Miller and in partnership with the local Prosecutor and state and local law enforcement, they are focused on your safety as you travel the roads this time of year.
“We want to take this opportunity to pass along some helpful information and encourage you to take it to heart this holiday season. During the holidays, the number of travelers on our roads peaks as friends and family come together to celebrate. Even with COVID-19, we expect more travelers on the roads than at other times of year,” said Millier.
As a result of holiday gatherings and because this season can, unfortunately, be difficult for some, drivers are more likely to be impaired by alcohol and/or drugs.
The most traveled holiday period of the year is Thanksgiving weekend, and drunk and drugged driving arrests are at their highest between Thanksgiving and the end of New Year’s weekend.
According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), one person in the United States dies every 48 minutes in a drunk driving crash, claiming more than 10,000 lives per year.
In 2018, 83 people were killed in alcohol-related collisions in Indiana, accounting for 10 percent of the state’s traffic fatalities. Among drivers killed in fatal collisions who had reported drug and alcohol test results, 38 percent were alcohol-impaired and 45 percent tested positive for one or more drugs.
In addition to the risk of serious injury or death, drunk and drugged driving carries other serious consequences.
If you are arrested for operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated you will be handcuffed and taken to the police station; your car and your person will be searched; your car will be towed at your expense; you will be asked to take a certified breath test, and if you refuse, your license will automatically be suspended for one year; if you take a breath test and it shows that your blood alcohol content is .08% or more, your driver’s license may be suspended; and to be released from jail, you may have to post bail.
And those are just the consequences for arrest. If you are convicted you will have to pay court costs and fees in excess of $300; you may receive a jail sentence; you may be fined; your license may be suspended; you may be required to attend drug and alcohol classes; and you may be required to submit to random drug screens.
These possible penalties increase substantially for second and third-time offenses. On top of these very serious consequences, drivers under the influence put others at great risk of harm, and fatal accidents involving drugs or alcohol carry stiff penalties
“I hope everyone in the community has a fun and festive time celebrating safely this year. However, I encourage everyone to do so responsibly. The consequence for a poor decision could not only be costly and burdensome, but it could also result in serious injury or death to you, a loved one, or someone else,” said Sheriff Miller.
“Please know, our state and local law enforcement officials are working hard to make sure the law-abiding citizens of our community can travel safely on our roads this holiday season.” Sheriff Miller continued
“I hope everyone will do their part in this effort and make it a safe and enjoyable time of year,” Sheriff Miller concluded.