Illinois Department of Transportation, Erica Borggren, Acting Secretary
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  FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 29, 2013

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Paris Ervin 217.782.5025
Jae Miller 312.814.4693

Law Enforcement Cracking Down on Drunk Drivers Through Labor Day Weekend

Strong DUI enforcement, increased safety belt use brings significant declines in Illinois late-night, drunk driving fatalities

CHICAGO - As the Illinois State Police (ISP) and police agencies across the state step up efforts to arrest drunk drivers during the final push of the 2013 “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” Labor Day Campaign, the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) today released data showing significant reductions in late-night, drunk driving fatalities in recent years in Illinois.

At an event at Buckingham Fountain in Chicago’s Grant Park, IDOT, ISP, the Chicago Police Department and dozens of suburban police officers today told motorists they can expect to see numerous stepped-up traffic enforcement details over the holiday weekend, including roadside safety checks and late-night safety belt enforcement zones. Beginning, August 16, over 400 Illinois law enforcement agencies joined the state police reminding motorists to “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” and “Click It or Ticket.” Motorists are being warned that impaired driving or failure to buckle up, especially during late-night hours, will get you arrested or ticketed.

The number of law enforcement agencies participating in this year’s campaign is the highest ever and IDOT officials praised them for their life-saving efforts. Illinois’ repetitive, high-visibility holiday enforcement campaigns send a strong message to would-be drunk drivers and seat belt law violators, and law enforcement is the heart and soul of these campaigns. Research shows that high-visibility enforcement like roadside safety checks can reduce drunk driving fatalities by as much as 20 percent.

“Stepped up traffic enforcement is not about making arrests,” said Illinois Transportation Ann L. Schneider. “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over’” is about deterrence. It’s about prevention. It’s about saving lives.”

“Every motorist should think twice and consider the consequences before drinking and driving this Labor Day weekend,” said Illinois State Police Director Hiram Grau. “Law enforcement across Illinois and beyond will be saturating the roadways and interstates pushing for zero fatalities and urge drivers to take responsibility before getting behind the wheel,” added Grau.

Illinois has seen significant reductions in drunk driving crashes in recent years in Illinois and some of the largest declines have been during dangerous late night hours.

Data from IDOT shows the number of motor vehicle fatalities involving a drunk driver declined steadily from 2007 through 2011. In 2007, 374 people died in drunk driving crashes in Illinois, compared to 233 in 2011 - a 38 percent reduction in the five-year period. In the years 2008, 2009 and 2010, 316, 271 and 244 people respectively lost their lives in crashes involving a drunk driver.

Of particular note, is the significant reduction in late-night drunk driving fatalities that occurred during the same five-year timeframe. The largest of these reductions occurred during the midnight to 3 a.m. timeframe when drunk driving fatalities dropped from 121 in 2007 to 71 in 2011, a 41 percent reduction. The chart below indicates reductions occurring in various parts of the day.

During recent years, Illinois’ drunk driving crackdowns have focused largely on late night times when the most people die in drunk driving crashes and when belt use is lowest. The stepped-up focus on late-night enforcement appears to be having some positive effect on fatalities, and IDOT and law enforcement remain committed to the fight to take drunk drivers off of Illinois roads.

“We’re gratified with recent, life-saving trends, but make no mistake, drunk driving remains a deadly menace to motorists in Illinois,” Secretary Schneider said. “Combined with the educational messages of ‘Driver Sober or Get Pulled Over’ and ‘Click It or Ticket’ and stepped up law enforcement, fewer people are dying during the riskiest driving times on our roads.”

Illinois Drunk Driving Deaths* by Time of Day (2007-2011)

Time of Day

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

12:00am-2:59am

121

96

92

83

71

3:00am-5:59am

67

48

56

43

45

6:00am-8:59am

10

15

15

13

7

  9:00am-11:59am

5

11

6

6

6

 12:00pm-2:59pm

18

3

8

10

5

3:00pm-5:59pm

24

22

18

22

14

6:00pm-8:59pm

48

45

23

30

43

  9:00pm-11:59pm

81

76

53

37

42

Totals

374

316

271

244

233

  * Motor vehicle fatalities involving at least one passenger vehicle driver or motorcycle rider (operator) with a BAC of 0.08 or greater.

The 2013 Illinois Labor Day “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” Crackdown is funded by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and administered by the Illinois Department of Transportation.

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