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October 30, 2009

Drivers Beware: Impaired Driving Will Not Be Tolerated
State and Local Police Step Up Patrols for Halloween Weekend

SPRINGFIELD - As Illinois residents gear up for Halloween this year, the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), Illinois State Police (ISP), Secretary of State Police (SOS) and local law enforcement agencies throughout Illinois are warning motorists about the dangers of impaired driving. The message is simple this Halloween:  If You Drink & Drive. You Lose!

“Every Halloween, we are faced with fatal crashes, some due to impaired driving, but we’re hoping this year will be different,” said Illinois Transportation Secretary Gary Hannig.  “We are asking motorists to not turn this Halloween into a scene from a horror film—please drive and act responsibly. Law enforcement officials will be out in full force to crack down on impaired drivers.”

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2008, 58 percent of all highway fatalities across the nation on Halloween night (6 pm Oct. 31 to 5:59 am Nov. 1) involved a driver with a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of 0.08 or higher, which is illegal in every state.  In Illinois in the last 5 years, 17 motorists and pedestrians were killed on Halloween and 7 of those fatalities involved alcohol.

“Since Halloween falls on a weekend this year, many individuals will be attending and hosting Halloween parties where alcohol is served,” said Illinois State Police Director Jonathon Monken.  “The ISP reminds everyone to put safety first and make the important decision to not drink and drive.  Motorists should be aware that our officers will be working with local law enforcement to keep impaired drivers off Illinois roads and local streets in an effort to protect trick-or-treaters."
For a safer Halloween weekend, IDOT recommends these simple tips:
• Designate your responsible sober driver before going out and give that person your keys;
• If you drink alcohol, call a taxi, use mass transit or call a sober friend or family member to help get you home safely;
• Promptly report impaired drivers to law enforcement;
• Always buckle up - it’s still your best defense against an impaired driver;
• If you know someone who is about to drive after consuming alcohol, take their keys and help them make other arrangements to get to their destination safely.

For more information about the Division of Traffic Safety’s impaired driving and safety campaigns, go online to: www.drivesoberillinois.org.


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