St. Patrick’s Day is one of the biggest drinking holidays of the year—behind only New Year’s Eve and Mardi Gras.
That is why members of law enforcement will be stepping up their patrols this weekend.
In 2018, 59 people were killed on St. Patrick’s Day as a result of impaired driving, according to Indiana State Police Sgt. Matt Ames.
“Drinking and driving or driving under the influence of a controlled substance, that is something that can be controlled,” Ames noted.
ISP troopers, along with other local agencies, will be setting up sobriety checkpoints beginning Friday night in order to catch those who are causing dangers on the roadway.
“Realistically, a driver should be maybe two minutes in the sobriety checkpoint and then be through the checkpoint, as long as there is nothing that has criminal activity that goes with it,” Ames said.
According to Ames, it is not uncommon for police to set up these checkpoints during major drinking holidays or events.
“Last year alone, during St. Patrick’s Day, the Indiana State Police incarcerated 11 people,” Ames said, adding that he hopes troopers do not have to make any arrests, and that everyone uses a sober ride home. “I believe it is a deterrent for people that people know, hey all the local agencies are going to be out here attempting to locate the impaired drivers so that we can make the roadways safe for everyone out here traveling.”
While Ames hopes the checkpoints are a deterrent, he acknowledged that is not always the case.
“We are seeing a rise both in drinking and driving and operating a vehicle while under the controlled substance,” he said.
If the risk of a car accident or jail time is not enough of a deterrent to prevent someone from driving impaired, Ames offered a festive statistic that might help.
“If you get caught drinking and driving you can say that that pot of gold is going to cost you about $10,000 to get out of trouble for drinking and driving.”
The Vigo County Sheriff’s Department will be working with ISP for the sobriety checkpoint. Also, all local agencies involved in Operation Pull Over will continue to have increased patrols out all weekend.