SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) today announced the opening of its Labor Day Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over enforcement effort, and highlighted information depicting the frequent tragedy experienced when a motorist chooses to drive a vehicle after consuming too much alcohol. Illinois has seen a reduction in drunk driving fatalities in recent years, but the numbers still show that many lives are lost or forever changed due to crashes involving alcohol. In addition, law enforcement agencies across the state are amplifying their efforts to crack down on traffic safety law violators leading up to the holiday weekend.
“Even with the decline in drunk driving deaths, on average, there is still an alcohol-involved motor vehicle fatality every day in Illinois,” said Illinois Transportation Secretary Ann L. Schneider. “Research has shown high-visibility enforcement reduces drunk driving fatalities and increases seat belt usage. This campaign is about creating awareness, positively shaping motorist behavior and driving zero roadway fatalities in Illinois to reality.”
The announcement comes as the Illinois State Police joined nearly 300 local law enforcement agencies throughout Illinois for the Labor Day crackdown. Running through Monday, Sept. 3, local law enforcement agencies and the Illinois State Police will conduct nearly 200 roadside safety checks and hundreds of other impaired driving and seat belt patrols. Motorists are being warned that drunk driving or failure to buckle up will result in arrests or tickets.
"Illinois State Police will be joined by law enforcement partners statewide to enforce DUI zero tolerance zones on our roads and expressways,” said ISP Director Hiram Grau. “Our top priority is for motorists to get to their final destination safely and by implementing this enforcement plan, we save lives and prevent driving fatalities,” Grau added.
It is illegal in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico to drive with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 grams per deciliter. Despite these laws, in 2010, more than 10,000 people died in the U.S. in crashes where the driver or motorcycle rider was impaired. In Illinois that year, 298 alcohol-related traffic deaths occurred.
The 2010 data from IDOT shows that a fatality involving a legally drunk person occurred every 1.2 days. A motor vehicle fatality involving a driver who had been drinking, averaged one death every 0.99 days. Tragically, a traffic fatality occurs every 9.4 hours in Illinois, and a serious traffic injury every 41.6 minutes.
The Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over and Click It or Ticket campaigns are funded by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and administered by IDOT. The campaign features increased law enforcement activity and public service announcements encouraging motorists to drive sober and buckle up.