SPRINGFIELD– The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) and Illinois State Police (ISP) officials today launched the You Drink & Drive. You Lose campaign and announced their efforts to boost enforcement over Super Bowl weekend. As part of the mobilization, nearly 100 local police departments and county sheriff offices will host a combined total of over 500 roadside safety checks, safety belt enforcement zones and other details scheduled to take place this weekend.
“IDOT is committed to the fight against impaired driving and will continuously form strategic partnerships to hold those accountable,” said Illinois Transportation Secretary Gary Hannig. “Impaired driving can severely alter a pleasant Super Bowl weekend by turning it into a devastating night of unforgettable tragedy. That is why IDOT is working with law enforcement to ensure impaired drivers are promptly arrested and removed from Illinois roadways.”
The You Drink & Drive. You Lose impaired driving enforcement mobilizations take place during major holidays or special events when impaired driving fatalities tend to be higher. Highly visible law enforcement including impaired driving saturation patrols and roadside safety checks are an effective tool in the impaired driving battle. Approximately $400,000 in federal highway safety funds are being committed to provide stepped up impaired driving and safety belt enforcement.
“Throughout Super Bowl weekend, the Illinois State Police will remain diligent in enforcing driving under the influence and other violations commonly linked to crashes,” said Illinois State Police Acting Director Jonathon Monken. “Law enforcement recognizes alcoholic beverages are often part of the big game. If you choose to drink, don’t drive. Ask someone to be a designated driver prior to starting your celebration or call a taxi service to make sure you arrive home safely.”
During the last five years in Illinois (2006-2010), 14 motor vehicle fatalities occurred on Super Bowl Sunday. Five of those fatalities or 36 percent involved a drinking driver. In comparison, last year three of the four fatalities that occurred in Illinois involved a driver who had been drinking.
The Illinois Department of Transportation suggests the following tips for those planning to consume alcohol while watching the Super Bowl:
• Designate a sober driver before the party begins;
• Call a taxi, use mass transit or call a sober friend or family member to get you home safely;
• If established, use your community’s designated driver program;
• Report impaired drivers to law enforcement;
• Spend the night where the activity is being held and sleep it off;
• Always buckle up – it’s your best defense against an impaired driver.
The You Drink & Drive. You Lose crackdown began January 28 and runs through February 6, 2011. For more information about impaired driving in Illinois, log onto www.drivesoberillinois.org.