Police looking for drunk drivers on the road and water this holi - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Police looking for drunk drivers on the road and water this holiday weekend


It was a great day to be on the water.  And that's exactly how many of you were celebrating the holiday.  Elkhart Police are expecting it to stay busy on the St. Joe River throughout the weekend.

Elkhart Police say they have extra boats out on the water for every summer holiday.   This 4th of July weekend will be no different.  But they can't be everywhere at all times so they're offering some tips to keep you safe.

Chloe Sherman says she always spends 4th of July on a boat with family and friends  They'll spend hours out on the water.  "We go to the sand bar and we swim...drive the boat around," said Sherman.

And they're not alone.  There were several boats and waverunners out for the holiday.  Elkhart Police Lt. Tom Shoff said, "Things have been very busy."

He expected things to calm down a bit Thursday evening but then pick right back up again for the weekend.  With so many people enjoying the water he says there are some key things to remember.  "Especially with all the rain we've had the river is very swift so swimmers should be careful," said Shoff.

Even if you're not swimming you've got to keep safety in mind.  Shoff said, "people that are towing inner tubes it's important they have a spotter in their boat, someone dedicated to keeping an eye on people on the inner tube."

He says all boats should also have a throwable life ring and life vests that are easily accessible, not stuffed under a seat.  "Life jackets safe lives," said Shoff.

And of course the no drinking and driving rule goes for boats too.  "Drinking alcohol and boating doesn't mix.  You should have a designated boat driver just like if you were in a car," said Shoff.

Shoff said it's ok to have a cocktail on a boat but remember the limit is .08 and he said you can get there pretty quick, it only takes two or three drinks.

If police do catch you drinking while boating Shoff said the penalties are the same as they are for drinking and driving.  You could lose your license for 90 days, or worse end up hurting yourself or others.

And police will also have extra patrols out on the roads for the holiday weekend.  Lt. Tim Williams with Mishawaka Police said they'll be on the lookout for drunk drivers but also aggressive drivers and those texting while driving.  "There will be extra patrols out this weekend. We want everybody to enjoy the 4th of July but do it in a safe manner," said Williams.

Police said if you need more convincing... it's cheaper to get a ride than it is to pay bail for drunk driving.


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