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MONON — Drive sober or get pulled over. That’s the message from the Monon Police Department’s Traffic Safety Partnership as two of the heaviest drinking events of the year loom around the corner: St. Patrick’s Day and the NCAA tournament.

All throughout March, officers will be conducting overtime patrols and sobriety checkpoints to prevent dangerous and impaired driving.

It is part of a statewide enforcement campaign funded by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration through the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute.

Monon Police Department Traffic Safety Partnership includes officers from the Monon and Francesville police departments.

“This March, we’re conducting our own full-court press targeting anyone driving under the influence,” said Monon Town Marshal Roger Young. “As a basketball state, we want everybody watching the tournament to have a good time, but not at the expense of others. It’s simple: If you plan on drinking, don’t drive.”

According to ICJI, in March 2019 there were 433 alcohol-related crashes across Indiana resulting in 205 injuries and five fatalities. Of those, 65 crashes (15 percent) and one fatality occurred during the St. Patrick’s Day holiday weekend alone.

“St. Patrick’s Day is one of, if not the, biggest drinking days of the year,” said Robert Duckworth, ICJI traffic safety director. “If you’re out celebrating, make the right choice and find a sober driver to get you and your friends home safely. Luck won’t keep you out of jail if you’re caught driving under the influence.”

Impaired driving isn’t the only risk on the road in March, according to ICJI. Dangerous driving, which includes factors such as speeding too fast for weather conditions and aggressive driving, is also a concern and something Monon and Francesville officers will be watching for throughout the mobilization.

The following list includes several safety tips to prevent impaired driving this March.

  • Before the celebration begins, plan a safe way home.
  • Never drive impaired.
  • Remember: Buzzed driving Is drunk driving.
  • If you do drink, use a taxi, public transportation, ride-sharing service or designate a sober friend or family member, and give them your keys.
  • If you see a drunk driver on the road, call 911.
  • If you know someone who is about to drive or ride impaired, take their keys and help make arrangements to get them home safely.