CHICAGO – The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) and the Illinois State Police today announced plans to increase impaired driving enforcement efforts over Labor Day weekend, and dedicated the weekend’s roadside safety checks to victims of impaired driving. Motorists are strongly encouraged to drive sober and buckle up this Labor Day weekend as the “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign heads into the final stretch. State officials were joined by Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and Alliance Against Intoxicated Motorists (AAIM) who issued a stark reminder that Driving Under the Influence (DUI) is a crime that has devastating effects.
“Mothers Against Drunk Driving and the Alliance Against Intoxicated Motorists are organizations also on the forefront of the battle against impaired driving,” said Acting Illinois Transportation Secretary Ann Schneider. “We hope this weekend’s dedicated roadside safety checks serve as a strong reminder to anyone who may choose to drive impaired…driving under the influence affects everyone, and if motorists make the careless decision to drive impaired, they will be caught and arrested.”
During the Labor Day weekend, the Illinois State Police, assisted by local law enforcement agencies, will conduct nearly 100 roadside safety checks across the state. A roadside safety check is an enforcement detail in which vehicles are stopped and checked specifically to enforce equipment laws, permits and licensing laws, and driving under the influence laws. Priority is given to officer and motorist safety and avoidance of undue public inconvenience. The purpose is to increase public safety by creating a deterrent effect for those individuals who would violate Illinois DUI laws.
"When passing a roadside safety checkpoint this Labor Day weekend, Illinois State Police encourage all motorists to think twice about the innocent victims whose lives were abruptly taken as a result of a careless driver," said ISP Operations Col Rob Haley. "These checkpoints should remind every driver on the roads and expressways this holiday weekend that disregard for the law is disregard for life," he added.
In numerous locations across the state over the weekend, roadside safety checks will be dedicated to the memory of a victim of a crash involving alcohol. This memorial is meant to honor the victim by reminding the public and law enforcement of the reason for roadside safety checks, which is to save lives and prevent serious injury.
“MADD is proud to join forces with the Illinois Department of Transportation and local law enforcement in this initiative to improve safety on Illinois roadways this holiday weekend,” said Susan McKeique, State Executive Director of MADD-Illinois.
“Traditionally, Labor Day marked the end of summer and the last of many hurrahs for backyard barbeques, picnics and parties, often including alcohol as a part of celebrations,” said Rita Kreslin, AAIM Deputy Director. “Every year hundreds of people are injured during the Labor Day weekend. Typically Labor Day is one of the most deadly holidays of the year on our roadways. We at AAIM want you to enjoy this Labor Day and we simply ask that when you celebrate, make the right choice – don’t drink and drive.”
During the 2010 Labor Day Holiday weekend (6:00 p.m. on Friday before Labor Day to 11:59 p.m. on Labor Day), 12 people lost their lives in motor vehicle crashes and one of those fatalities involved a drinking driver. There were 763 people injured during the Labor Day weekend last year. Data for the Labor Day weekend over the last five years (2006-2010) shows a total of 70 fatalities in which 25 of the 70 individuals, or 36 percent, of them involved a drinking driver.
The “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” crackdown for 2011 began August 19 and runs through Labor Day, September 5. As part of the effort, the Illinois State Police join over 350 local law enforcement agencies to crack down on impaired driving and remind motorists to “Click It or Ticket.”
“Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” is administered by the Illinois Department of Transportation’s Division of Traffic Safety. The campaign features stepped-up enforcement supported by an intensive two-week media campaign intended to raise awareness and deter individuals from driving impaired. For more information on Illinois’ traffic safety efforts, log on to www.trafficsafety.illinois.gov.