IDOT, Illinois State Police and Local Law
Enforcement Across the State
Remind Celebrators to Designate a Sober Driver this St.
Stepped Up Enforcement Designed to Get Drunk Drivers Off the Road
CHICAGO – As St. Patrick’s Day approaches, the
Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), Illinois State
Police and nearly 200 local law enforcement agencies urge
motorists to plan a safe ride home and never get behind the
wheel after drinking. Now through the March 17th holiday, state
and local law enforcement officers across Illinois will have an
increased presence to crack down on drunk drivers as part of the
Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign.
St. Patrick’s Day means many Illinoisans will be
celebrating with family and friends at local parades,
restaurants and drinking establishments. These celebrations can
turn deadly if someone chooses to drink and drive.
“Drunk driving is a dangerous, deadly and
senseless crime that will not be tolerated in Illinois,”
Illinois Transportation Secretary Ann L. Schneider said. “Today
we are giving fair warning to anyone planning to be on the road
during St. Patrick’s Day that law enforcement officers will be
on patrol all over Illinois. Don’t risk your life and the lives
of others on the road. Be responsible and designate a sober
driver before you go out. Then you can truly relax and
According to data from IDOT, over the past five
years (2009-2013) in Illinois, 10 people lost their lives in
motor vehicle crashes on St. Patrick’s Day alone. Two of those
fatalities resulted from crashes in which a driver had been
drinking alcohol. In 2013 on St. Patrick’s Day in Illinois,
three people died in crashes and one of those fatalities
resulted from a crash in which a driver had been drinking
The National Highway Traffic Safety
Administration (NHTSA) reports that more than 269 people have
been senselessly killed nationwide in crashes involving drunk
drivers during the St. Patrick’s Day holiday from 2007 to 2011.
(The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration defines St.
Patrick’s Day as 6 p.m. March 16 to 5:59 a.m. March 18.)
According to NHTSA in 2011, on average, one
person was killed every 53 minutes in a drunk-driving crash in
the United States. Most of these crashes involved drunk drivers
who had blood alcohol concentrations of .15 or higher, almost
twice the legal limit of .08.
Beginning March 13 and continuing through St.
Patrick’s Day, Sunday, March 17, some $650,000 in federal
highway safety dollars will fund Illinois roadside safety
checks, saturation patrols and other impaired driving and seat
belt law enforcement efforts. In addition to the Illinois State
Police and the Illinois Secretary of State Police, nearly 200
local law enforcement agencies are participating. A combined
total of 1,000 or more roadside safety checks, seat belt
enforcement zones and other enforcement patrols will occur
during the St. Patrick’s Day period with most patrols taking
place on the weekend and the evening of March 17.
There is no luck involved. Just follow these simple steps so you
can enjoy a safe St. Patrick’s Day without jeopardizing your
life and the lives of others on the road.
If you are hosting a party:
Remember, you can be held liable and
prosecuted if someone you served is involved in an impaired
Make sure all of your guests designate their
sober drivers in advance, or help arrange ride-sharing with
other sober drivers;
Serve lots of food and include lots of
non-alcoholic beverages at the party;
Keep the numbers for local cab companies
handy, and take the keys away from anyone who is thinking of
If you are attending a party:
Designate your sober driver BEFORE the party
begins and give that person your car keys;
If you do not have a designated driver, ask
a sober friend for a ride home; call a cab, a sober friend,
or a family member to pick you up; use public transportation
if available; or just stay where you are and sleep it off
until you are sober;
Never let a friend leave your sight if you
think they are about to drive while impaired.
Always buckle up – it is still your best
defense against an impaired driver.