Local Police start sobriety checkpoint blitz - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Local Police start sobriety checkpoint blitz

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For the next 16 days police will be out in full force all across Michiana, looking for drunk drivers.  Expect to see several sobriety checkpoints on the roads.  The first one started Friday night on Ironwood Rd, just south of Lincolnway.

Police said they are aggressively going after drunk drivers this month because it's a time of year when more people decide to drink and drive.  They're asking everyone to make a more responsible decision.

"I personally used to drink and drive so I know how dangerous it can be," said Michiana resident Daniel Joseph McLemore.  He doesn't drink anymore but his personal experience is why he supports the sobriety checkpoint blitz.  "Back in my time when I was drinking we didn't have them checkpoints.  So possibly had I been caught in the act that would have been the dissuader."

And that's exactly what police want to do, dissuade you from drinking and driving.  "We really want to emphasize that people use care and caution and don't drink and drive," said Lt. Matt Blank with St. Joseph County Police.

For the next two weeks they'll be out on the streets conducting several sobriety checkpoints.  Lt. Tim Williams with Mishawaka Police said, "It's geared towards March Madness where everybody likes to go out and celebrate their favorite team and cheer them on."  Williams said March Madness paired with St. Patrick's Day makes this time of year extremely dangerous on the roads.  "Last year this time, this two week period, we had 90 DUI arrests."  Police want that number much lower this year.  That's why they're letting you know they're out there.  "That gives you the power to make a good choice," said Williams, "It's a lot cheaper to pay for a cab ride home than it is to pay for bond to get out of jail and all the attorney fees that go with being arrested for drunk driving."

Seven different police agencies within St. Joseph County are helping out with these checkpoints this month.  But it's not just happening in St. Joseph County, several other Indiana Counties are doing the same thing.

The blitz is all federally funded by grants from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

And if you've seen or heard of personal breathalyzers and are thinking of using one of those to still drink and drive, police say that's not a good idea either.  "You just don't know how accurate they really are.  Some may be extremely accurate and some may not and it's kinda another way you might be risking going to jail by putting your faith and your money behind one of these objects," said Blank.  When it comes to drinking and driving he said it's better to be cautious and just get a designated driver.

 

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