SPRINGFIELD—The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) has partnered with Illinois State Police and local law enforcement agencies across the state to kick off the “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” mobilization, an intensive, two-week crackdown on impaired driving leading up to the Labor Day holiday. Through Sept. 5, the Illinois State Police will join over 350 local police departments and county sheriff’s offices for the crackdown.
“Impaired driving is a serious crime plaguing our society, and affecting the lives of innocent, law abiding motorists on a regular basis,” said Acting Transportation Secretary Ann Schneider. “IDOT will not waver in its strong commitment to directly fight against this careless and reckless act of indecency. The ‘Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over’ message and mobilization serves as a warning to those who choose to drive impaired in Illinois … law enforcement will find and arrest you, no exceptions.”
For the next two weeks, law enforcement agencies across the state will conduct over 200 roadside safety checks and hundreds of additional hours of impaired driving and safety belt saturation patrols. In addition, motorists are being warned to buckle up or risk getting a ticket.
In Illinois, impaired driving and the lack of safety belt use are two problems that often take place at night. According to data from the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the midnight to 3 a.m. timeframe is the deadliest time on Illinois roadways. The data also shows this time of day has the highest percentage of alcohol involvement and the lowest safety belt use.
“Illinois State Police want motorists to arrive at their final destinations safely during the holiday weekend and will be targeting designated areas looking for speeders, seatbelt violators, and DUI offenders,” said ISP Director Hiram Grau. “Violating these laws can result in fines and possible jail time and will be treated as criminal acts by the police and court system.”
Illinois has experienced a continued decrease in impaired driving fatal motor vehicle crashes in the past few years. The fact remains, however, that impaired drivers still play a role in over 300 highway deaths and hundreds more serious injuries each year.
During last year’s Labor Day weekend (6 p.m. Friday to 11:59 p.m. Monday evening), 12 people lost their lives in motor vehicle crashes, and one of the fatalities involved an impaired driver. Additionally, 763 people were injured during the same weekend. Data for the last five years (2006-10) during the Labor Day weekend report a total of 70 fatalities, with 25 of the 70 fatalities, or 36 percent, involving an impaired driver.
The “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign 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 deter individuals from driving impaired. For more information on IDOT’s Traffic Safety program against impaired driving, log on to www.trafficsafety.illinois.gov/#DSI.