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Adult celebrations turned last Halloween into a nightmare     Send a link to a friend

Safe driving urged

[OCT. 29, 2004]  SPRINGFIELD -- Illinois Department of Transportation Secretary Timothy W. Martin called on motorists to celebrate the upcoming Halloween weekend responsibly, reminding everyone this is a time for celebration, not tragedy. Martin joined transportation and law enforcement officials around the nation in urging people to not let Halloween turn into a nightmare and to designate a sober driver before attending any Halloween activities.

"Halloween is on a Sunday this year, which will mean holiday parties throughout the weekend," Martin said. "It's a great occasion for celebrations, but don't let it become a nightmare by driving impaired, going to jail or worse -- killing a loved one, yourself or an innocent child out trick-or-treating."

Halloween is a holiday that already has a high rate of alcohol-related crashes. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, two-thirds of all highway fatalities in the nation during Halloween 2003 involved alcohol.

Last year, Halloween was on a Friday, and in Illinois the number of people killed in alcohol-related traffic crashes during the holiday weekend was more than 2 times greater than the 2003 daily average for alcohol-related fatalities. With 17 total fatalities overall in Illinois during last year's Halloween weekend, it was even more deadly than the Memorial Day and Fourth of July holiday weekends.

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"Halloween has always been meant for kids, but more and more adults are celebrating the holiday with parties, and I would urge everyone to celebrate responsibly," Martin added. "Driving under the influence is a deadly crime. Last year, 502 people died as a result of someone getting behind the wheel after they had too much to drink. This Halloween, don't let it be you."

Here are some simple tips if you are hosting or going to a party:

  • Make sure there are plenty of nonalcoholic refreshments on hand.
  • If you think a friend is about to drive impaired, take the keys and don't let them leave your sight.
  • Plan ahead and designate a driver.
  • If impaired, call a taxi, take mass transit, call a friend or remain where you are until you've a chance to sleep it off until you are sober.

[Illinois Department of Transportation news release]

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