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Indiana police will look for impaired drivers during traffic safety blitz

Indiana police will look for impaired drivers during traffic safety blitz. // WSBT 22 photo

In just one week, recreational marijuana will be legal in Michigan.

Police right over the border in Indiana are on the lookout for impaired drivers crossing the state line.

They're planning a traffic blitz in Roseland.

State Road 933 could possibly be the location of an extra checkpoint. Officers say there have been numerous fatal accidents on the roadway and they are concerned that fatal crashes could go up if people are using weed and then getting behind the wheel.

“Do you want to last be seen getting put into a hearse? Or into the back of a police car? Our goal is to see you get home safely,” said Tim Williams, Mishawaka Police Department.

Even though marijuana will soon be legal in Michigan, it is never legal in any state for someone to smoke weed and then get behind the wheel.

“Statistically states that have legalized marijuana have an increase in fatal crashes,” said Ted Bohner, sergeant with the Indiana State Police. “That is definitely one thing I hope doesn’t make its way south here to Indiana. We don’t want fatal crashes to begin with and we definitely don’t want more.”

Bohner isn’t the only one worried about fatal crashes.

“That’s always going to be a concern because we are so close,” said Williams. "I’m on a FACT team, so I’m concerned our call outs for the Fatal Alcohol Crash Team are going to go up.”

There are four traffic safety blitzes a year. The next one begins December 13. Even though marijuana will be legal just over the state line, officers want to warn about the effects of on the body.

“When it comes to marijuana, in driver’s education we teach young drivers that a person that smokes a marijuana joint and has two 12-ounce beers, is the equivalent to a person drinking six 12-ounce beers,” said Williams.

Also they will be actively checking for all types of impairment at these checkpoints and stops.

“Marijuana is going to slow down your reflexes. It’s going to give you issues with your balance and you’re not going to be able to judge distance and speed very well.”

There will be sobriety checkpoints and officers hope that this effort makes everyone think twice before driving under the influence.

“The bottom line is it’s not about the ticket,” said Williams. “It’s not about the arrests -- it’s about saving lives.”

The sobriety checkpoints in this area are going to be well-advertised ahead of when they happen, but the goal is to prevent impaired driving.

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