Mahan: Preventing impaired and dangerous driving

Posted by: Samantha Holifield  | Friday, March 17, 2017 10:34 am

In March of last year, 11 people in Indiana lost their lives as a result of impaired driving. With the NCAA tournament and start of spring, this month seems to experience an uptick in dangerous and impaired driving. To save lives and prevent injuries resulting from car crashes, law enforcement officials are stepping up patrols and working to keep us safe.

The Indiana Criminal Justice Institute reported last March, Indiana saw 495 crashes related to alcohol throughout the state. Dangerous driving also posed a significant threat to motorists, leading to an additional 1,128 crashes in the same month. Driving while distracted or fatigued and driving too fast are classified as dangerous driving actions that threaten everyone on the road.

The Indiana State Police recently announced the next step in their ongoing efforts to reduce dangerous and impaired driving. The state police have partnered with more than 250 local law enforcement agencies in Indiana to increase education and enforcement related to these driving activities. High-visibility patrols are currently being conducted throughout the state in an effort to get dangerous drivers off the road.

In addition to the extra efforts being made this month, the ISP and the ICJI are working year-round to protect Hoosier drivers. The ICJI supports 350 law enforcement agencies in the state with funding for impaired driving patrols that are conducted throughout the year. All of the agencies taking part in this program must participate in Operation Pullover, a focused effort to increase seatbelt usage and reduce impaired driving. They must also have their officers certified in Standardized Field Sobriety Testing, which is a series of tests that are used to determine if a driver is operating a vehicle under the influence.

Injury and death caused by dangerous driving is almost completely avoidable if precautions are taken. The ISP and the ICJI encourage motorists to immediately call 911 if they suspect a drunk driver is on the road. When going out where drinking may occur, individuals should plan to use public transportation, a ridesharing service or have a designated driver to avoid driving under the influence. Driving impaired or distracted is never worth the risk, and there are no excuses that make it acceptable.

As a former sheriff, I have a strong interest in expanding public safety efforts in our community and across the state. Dangerous and impaired driving are irresponsible and hazardous activities that pose a threat not only to the person driving, but to any passengers, other vehicles and pedestrians on the road. Hoosier drivers deserve to feel safe traveling through the Crossroads of America, and reducing the number of unsafe drivers is one way to make that happen. Remember, we all share the road. This is a warning and a reminder to always drive safely. We all need to do our part to make Indiana roadways safer.

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State Rep. Kevin Mahan (R-Hartford City) represents

portions of Blackford, Delaware, Grant and Wells counties.

A high-resolution photo of Mahan can be downloaded by clicking here.