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September 2, 2009

The Illinois Department of Transportation and Illinois Law Enforcement Ramp up a Late-Night Fight Against Impaired Driving
Stepped up enforcement to continue through Labor Day weekend

CHICAGO– Beginning August 21st, the Illinois Department of Transportation and Illinois State Police joined over 325 law enforcement agencies across the state in the largest effort against impaired driving to date. 

Today, police are reminding motorists that effort will get even stronger heading into Labor Day weekend.  Starting today, late-night motorists will see hundreds of roadside safety checks and police patrols looking for impaired drivers and safety belt law violators.  The enforcement focus remains on the deadly nighttime hours when data shows more people die in motor vehicle crashes than during any other time of day. 

In addition, Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) law enforcement personnel are also participating in the crackdown within state parks and on Illinois waters thanks to a grant from IDOT Division of Traffic Safety.   IDNR Conservation Police Officers (CPO’s) will be out in force during the Labor Day holiday weekend in a concentrated effort to reduce impaired driving in and around Illinois state parks.

The Illinois Conservation Police increased efforts are aided in part by more than $150,000 in state grant funding to combat motor vehicle driving under the influence (DUI) and boater operating under the influence (OUI) offenses. 

Nearly seven out of ten fatalities occurring between midnight and 3:00 a.m. involve a drinking driver, and less than three out of ten of those who died in crashes during this time were properly restrained by a safety belt.  The picture is completely different during the higher-traffic, daytime hours with less than two out of ten fatalities involving alcohol and nearly six out of ten properly restrained.

“The combination of alcohol and low belt use has caused an unacceptable number of fatalities on Illinois roads at night,” said Illinois Department of Transportation Secretary Gary Hannig.  “That is why law enforcement is making an even greater effort to move traffic enforcement into the night.  If you drive impaired or unbuckled at night, expect to be caught.”

“Drinking and driving is inappropriate regardless of the time of day," said Illinois State Police Director Jonathon Monken. "Data tells us the likelihood of being involved in a crash or fatal crash where alcohol is involved increases dramatically at night.  Therefore, the Illinois State Police will focus our efforts on DUI and seat belt enforcement during night time details throughout the Labor Day weekend.”

For more information about the impaired driving in Illinois, go to www.drivesoberillinois.org.


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