CHICAGO – The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), the Illinois State Police and nearly 350 local law enforcement agencies today are gearing up to increase patrol activities for Labor Day weekend in order to make Illinois roadways safer for the heavily traveled holiday. As part of the two-week mobilization continuing through Sept. 3, police have been cracking down on impaired driving and seat belt law violations by conducting over 200 roadside safety checks and hundreds of additional impaired driving and seat belt saturation patrols. Motorists are being reminded to “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” and “Click It or Ticket” especially during deadly, late-night hours.
“IDOT is committed to improving safety on Illinois roadways, protecting innocent motorists from those who make the wrong choice to drink and drive, and driving zero fatalities to reality,” said Illinois Transportation Secretary Ann L. Schneider. “This Labor Day weekend, law enforcement across the state is cracking down on impaired drivers and seat belt law violators, as it is proven this approach consistently and effectively improves traffic safety, prevents motor vehicle crashes and fatalities as well as minimizes potential injuries on Illinois roadways.”
According to data from IDOT’s Division of Traffic Safety, last year in Illinois, nine people were killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes during the Labor Day weekend (6:00 p.m. Friday before Labor Day to 11:59 p.m. on Labor Day). Of those fatalities, three occurred in crashes that involved at least one driver or motorcycle operator who had been drinking alcohol. Likewise, during the 2011 Labor Day weekend, 709 people were injured in motor vehicle traffic crashes. Data for the Labor Day weekend over the past 5 years (2007-2011) show a total of 62 roadway fatalities in which 23, or 37 percent, involved a driver or motorcycle operator who had been drinking.
IDOT, state police and local law enforcement are issuing a firm reminder that it is illegal in Illinois to drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 grams per deciliter or higher. Although this law has already been in effect for 15 years, nearly 300 people died in crashes in 2010 in which a driver or motorcycle rider was impaired.
DUI offenders face jail time, loss of their driver’s license, steep financial consequences such as higher insurance rates, attorney fees, court costs, lost time at work, and/or the potential loss of job. In addition, when family, friends and co-workers find out, violators also often face tremendous personal embarrassment.
IDOT and law enforcement held several press conferences across the state today to highlight the importance of safe driving practices for the holiday weekend, and also demonstrated what occurs during a traffic stop involving a DUI arrest.
“Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” and “Click It or Ticket” mobilizations are funded with federal traffic safety dollars and administered by IDOT. The campaign features stepped-up enforcement supported by an intensive two-week media campaign intended to deter individuals from driving impaired. For more information on Illinois’ traffic safety efforts, please visit www.trafficsafety.illinois.gov.