Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

February 28, 2014

Don't be a statistic

Kokomo Tribune

---- — Many area residents schedule vacations around school calendars. When the kids are on “spring break” — most local school districts have scheduled theirs the first week of April — some families hit the road.

Still others have no such “child restraints.” They can plan a trip to Myrtle Beach and other coastal communities of the South when winter’s worst gets to be too much.

If you’ll be seeking warmer climes in March, you’ll have company on the highway. More than 250 state and local law enforcement agencies will be patrolling Indiana roads between now and March 23.

“We will have a strong and visible police presence aimed at deterring dangerous driving and getting impaired drivers off Hoosier highways,” said Indiana State Police Superintendent Doug Carter. “If you plan to drink alcohol, don’t drive. Designate a sober driver.”

State police will be among those agencies participating in Operation Pull Over. The enforcement effort will include saturation patrols and sobriety checkpoints throughout Indiana.

Between Feb. 28 and March 23 of last year, there were 388 vehicle accidents on Indiana roadways where alcohol or drug impairment was considered a contributing factor in the crash, state police report. Of those accidents, 29 percent involved injury. Four people were killed and 158 were hurt.

Drivers in Kokomo, Howard County and throughout Indiana can expect in the coming weeks:

• Sobriety checkpoints to take drunken drivers off the roads.

• Law enforcement officers watching for unsafe lane changes, vehicles following others too closely and speeding.

• Officers ensuring that all occupants in a vehicle are wearing seat belts.

Before heading out on vacation this month or next, remember to make sure your tires are properly inflated and that your wipers and lights operate properly. Also allow for extra time to your destination.

Don’t be a statistic. Drive safely.

ISP’s Doug Carter recommends these easy steps for a safe March and St. Patrick’s Day March 17:

• Plan a safe way home before the festivities begin.

• Before drinking, designate a sober driver and leave your car keys at home.

• If you’re impaired, use a taxi, call a sober friend or family member, or use public transportation.

• If you know someone who is about to drive while impaired, take the keys and help make safe travel arrangements.