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Gary police will conduct extra patrols Aug. 12-18 to enforce the city’s zero tolerance policy on using a cellphone while driving.

Anyone caught using their cellphone while driving will be cited.

“Distracted drivers are dangerous drivers,” police said Thursday in a news release.

The cellphone ordinance enforcement announcement comes the same day Gary police announced it will join thousands of police agencies nationwide in the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over enforcement campaign.

From mid-August through Labor Day, police across the country will increase sobriety checkpoints, roving patrols and saturation patrols to arrest impaired drivers. About 230 law enforcement agencies in Indiana will be participating in the mobilization.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Indiana Criminal Justice Institute recently purchased more than 2,600 portable breath tests to help 150 police agencies in Indiana establish probable cause in arresting impaired drivers.

The average operating while intoxicated charge costs about $10,000 including car towing and repairs, attorney fees, fines, court costs, lost time at work and other expenses, according to Gary police.

OWIs are not limited to alcohol. Prescription and over-the-counter medications and illegal drugs can impair drivers and motorcycle riders. 

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Impaired driving is three times more common at night than during the day, according to Gary police.

Gary police offer this list of alternatives to impaired driving:

  • Designate, or be, a sober driver.
  • Use public transportation.
  • Call a cab or a ridesharing service.
  • Download the SaferRide mobile app on the Android Play Store or the Apple iTunes Store.
  • Celebrate at home or a place where you can stay until sober.
  • Take the keys and make alternate arrangements for impaired friends or family members about to drive.

Anyone who sees an impaired driver is advised to turn off the road away from the vehicle and call 911.

Signs of impaired driving include:

  • Weaving, swerving, drifting, or straddling the center line
  • Driving at a very slow speed
  • Braking erratically
  • Making wide turns
  • Stopping without cause
  • Responding slowly to traffic signals
  • Driving after dark with headlights off
  • Almost striking an object or vehicle
  • Driving on the wrong side of the road
  • Turning abruptly or illegally

For more information, visit on.IN.gov/drivesober.

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