Evansville – Indiana State Police will be increasing patrols during this upcoming holiday season, as part of the winter Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over national enforcement mobilization. Now until January 1, troopers will be looking for impaired drivers and those drivers and passengers not buckling up.

Extra patrols are funded by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) through an Indiana Criminal Justice Institute grant.

The holiday season is one of the deadliest times of the year for impaired-driving fatalities. Last December in Indiana, there were 415 alcohol-related crashes, resulting in 105 injuries and 11 fatalities.

To further save lives and prevent traffic fatalities, troopers will be looking for seat belt and child restraint violations. According to NHTSA, between 1975 and 2017, seat belts have saved an estimated 374,196 lives. While Indiana’s seat belt usage rate is above the national average of 90.7 percent, more than half of the people who were killed in motor vehicle crashes last year were not buckled up. “With inclement weather and busier roads this time of year, it’s especially important to buckle up,” said Robert Duckworth, ICJI Traffic Safety Director. “We want everyone to have a safe holiday season and wearing a seat belt is the best way to protect yourself on the road.” Indiana has a primary seat-belt law, meaning that law enforcement officers may ticket unrestrained drivers or passengers, even if no other traffic violation has taken place. Children under eight must be properly restrained in a federally approved child or booster seat.