Illinois participates in aggressive national
effort to reduce drinking and driving
IDOT and law enforcement teaming up on "You
Drink & Drive. You Lose"
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[AUG. 31, 2004]
SPRINGFIELD -- The
Illinois Department of Transportation, Illinois State Police and
local law enforcement agencies throughout Illinois are teaming up on
one of the most aggressive impaired driving reduction efforts to
date. IDOT and law enforcement will be delivering the "You Drink &
Drive. You Lose" message to drivers during a 17-day enforcement
period, centered on Labor Day weekend.
The more than two-week
crackdown kicked off at news conferences throughout Illinois on last
Thursday morning, notifying motorists that drinking and driving will
not be tolerated in Illinois. This is the first national crackdown
effort since all 50 states and the District of Columbia enacted 0.08
blood alcohol content laws for impaired driving.
In 2003, Illinois had 1,453
people killed in traffic crashes; of those fatalities, 639 were
"We are trying to save lives
with this stepped up enforcement during this 2½-week period," said
Illinois Department of Transportation Secretary Tim Martin. "Between
2000 and 2003, 74 people were killed in Labor Day crashes. In 2003,
60 percent of our Labor Day fatalities were related to alcohol.
The weekend effort combines
focused law enforcement efforts with a more than $14 million
national advertising campaign, the largest paid media buy since the
1999 inception of You Drink & Drive. You Lose. Illinois' share of
the media campaign is nearly $700,000 and will highlight strict
enforcement of drunk-driving laws during the 17-day crackdown.
Statewide, more than 350 local
law enforcement agencies will be teaming up with the Illinois State
Police to conduct roadside safety checks and saturation patrols.
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"Our message is clear. We are
taking a zero-tolerance approach to those who decide to drink and
drive," said Illinois State Police Director Larry Trent. "You can
expect to see law enforcement out in full force during the
stepped-up enforcement period. I want to be very clear: If you drive
while intoxicated, you will go to jail."
According to the National
Highway Traffic Safety Administration, studies show that nearly 97
percent of Americans view drinking and driving by others as a threat
to their families and themselves. Americans support tougher
enforcement and rank impaired driving ahead of health care, poverty,
the environment and gun control as an issue of importance.
"We are committed to curb the
problem of drinking and driving, which is an epidemic in Illinois,"
said Martin. "We believe that through strict law enforcement, we can
combat this very real and deadly problem."
addition to checking for impairment, police will also be checking
for compliance with the Illinois primary enforcement seat belt law.
Department of Transportation news release]