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STATEWIDE–Labor Day weekend is one of the biggest travel weekends of the year. Indiana State Police are conducting their “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” enforcement of drunk and impaired driving now through September 6.

Of the 898 traffic fatalities that happened last year in Indiana, 17 percent (151) were alcohol-related. That is an increase from 130 in 2019.

“I’ve been a trooper for almost 30 years. I’ve had to make notifications to families several times that their loved one has been hurt, injured, or killed in a crash involving alcohol. That’s something that will affect a family for the rest of their time,” said David Henderson, a state police sergeant in the Jasper District.

Henderson reminds you that impaired driving includes more than just alcohol.

“Any kind of drug that says it can affect your driving on the label is something to pay attention to. We’re targeting not just the illicit drugs you hear about on the street, but also prescription drugs that people don’t realize can affect their driving ability and their dexterity,” said Henderson.

Henderson says if you want to drink alcohol during the weekend, then planning ahead is a big key.

“A lot of the accidents we see happen are due to people not planning ahead. We encourage everyone that if you do decide to drink, please make sure you have someone drive you home,” said Henderson.

If you can’t get a friend to give you a ride, then Henderson says you need to use a rideshare service, public transportation, or taxi.

If you do spot a drunk or impaired driver, Henderson urges you to call 911 immediately.

Officers are working overtime and are on the lookout for all forms of impairment. The consequences can include thousands of dollars in legal fees, increased insurance rates, loss of license, a criminal record, and possible jail time.

Consequences for drunk and impaired driving can include thousands of dollars in legal fees, increased insurance rates, loss of license, and possible jail time.

About 28 people die in the U.S. in drunk driving crashes every day. That is one person every 52 minutes and more than 10,000 per year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

This extra enforcement is funded by the NHTSA through the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute.

LISTEN: Full Interview with David Henderson