The Crusader Newspaper Group

Ho- Ho- Ho- Holiday enforcement is here

Illinois looks to finish 2019 with fewer motor vehicle fatalities than 2018

The Illinois Department of Transportation, Illinois State Police and more than 200 police and sheriff’s departments are coming together for the annual holiday “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign to keep impaired drivers off the roads. Motorists will notice this life-saving enforcement effort in their communities and around the state now through the early-morning hours of Jan. 2.

“The holidays should be a time for celebrating and making memories, not tragedy and loss,” said Cynthia Watters, IDOT’s bureau chief of Safety Programs and Engineering. “With all the festivities, it is essential to plan for a sober ride home before the celebration begins. To help save lives, law enforcement will be cracking down on those who choose to drive impaired.”

The end-of-year enforcement campaign comes as IDOT data show Illinois motor vehicle fatalities trending downward. In 2018, 1,031 people lost their lives in Illinois crashes. Throughout 2019, crash fatalities have consistently been about 50 below last year’s totals. Current Illinois motor vehicle fatalities are at 965, which is 53 fewer than a year ago.

Estimates from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show the number of Illinois alcohol-impaired fatalities decreasing after rising in 2016 and 2017. According to NHTSA, 309 people died in alcohol-impaired driving crashes in Illinois in 2018, down from 336 and 357 deaths in 2016 and 2017, respectively. 

While their main focus will be DUI and seat belt offenders, law enforcement will also show zero tolerance for speeding, distracted driving and other traffic offenses.

“Only Santa’s sleigh should be flying tonight, so drivers better watch out,” ISP Director Brendan Kelly said. “We see you when your drinking. We know when you’re unsafe, so designate a sober driver and be good for goodness sake!”

The Illinois “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” and “Click It or Ticket” programs are funded with federal highway safety dollars administered by IDOT.

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