CHICAGO –Illinois Transportation Secretary Ann L. Schneider, along with the Illinois State Police and local law enforcement agencies today reminded motorists to be sure and designate a sober driver, especially with the upcoming Super Bowl weekend when friends and families will gather to watch the big game Sunday February 3.
“We hope everyone enjoys the festivities of Super Bowl Weekend, but we want to remind everyone - before you decide to drink- to choose a sober designated driver. We want you to hand off your keys to ensure you, your passengers and everyone on our roadways can return home safely,” said Secretary Schneider. “Drunk driving is always preventable, and driving drunk or buzzed could result in seriously injuring or killing yourself or someone else. Motorists can expect the Illinois State Police and local law enforcement agencies to have a visible presence and to stop anyone who makes the dangerous decision to drink and drive.”
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 9,878 people were killed in drunk-driving crashes across the nation in 2011. These drunk-driving fatalities accounted for almost one-third of the total motor vehicle traffic fatalities in the United States. In Illinois in 2011, 278 people were killed in crashes involving at least one drunk driver, a third of all those who died in crashes that year. In Illinois, on Super Bowl Sunday last year, four died in motor vehicle crashes with three of those deaths involving a driver who had been drinking.
“Driving under the influence is still the number one cause for traffic crashes and fatalities, during the holidays, and Super Bowl weekend is no different,” said ISP Director Hiram Grau. “The Illinois State Police will strictly enforce DUI and will target those violators who place their lives and the lives of others at risk when they choose alcohol over safety,” he stressed.
IDOT and Illinois law enforcement want to remind everyone, on Super Bowl Sunday, or anytime:
• Designate your sober driver before the party begins.
• Avoid drinking too much alcohol too fast. Pace yourself. Eat plenty of food, take breaks, and alternate with non-alcoholic drinks.
• If you don’t have a designated driver, ask a sober friend for a ride home; call a cab, friend, or family member to come and get you; or if possible stay where you are for the night and don’t drive until you are sober.
• Use your community’s sober ride program.
• Never let friends drive drunk. Arrange a safe way for them to get home.
• Always buckle up. It’s still your best defense against other drunk drivers.
If you’re hosting a Super Bowl party:
• Make sure all of your guests designate their sober drivers in advance, or help arrange ride-sharing with sober drivers.
• Serve plenty of food and non-alcoholic beverages at the party.
• Host your party just like they do at the stadium. Stop serving alcohol at the end of the third quarter of the game. The fourth quarter is perfect for serving coffee and dessert.
• Keep the phone numbers of local cab companies on hand and take the keys away from anyone who is thinking of driving drunk.
• Remember, you can be held liable and prosecuted if someone you served ends up in a drunk-driving crash.
• If an underage person drinks and drives, the parent may be legally liable for any damage, injury or death caused by the underage driver.
• Parents or other adults who provide alcohol to, or host a party where alcohol is available to, those under age 21 could face jail time.
Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over and Click It or Ticket campaigns are administered by IDOT’s Division of Traffic Safety and supported by hundreds of Illinois law enforcement agencies. For more information, go to trafficsafety.illinois.gov.