Impaired driving is focus of Labor Day weekend mobilization
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law enforcement teaming up on ‘You Drink & Drive. You Lose'
[SEPT. 3, 2005]
SPRINGFIELD -- The Illinois Department of
Transportation, Illinois State Police and local law enforcement
agencies are pairing their enforcement activities with the most
"You Drink & Drive. You Lose"
public awareness campaign since it began in 1999. The 17-day
enforcement period around Labor Day is the second national crackdown
effort since all 50 states and the District of Columbia enacted the
.08 blood alcohol content laws for impaired driving.
"The idea is to save lives with stepped-up enforcement and a strong
public safety message during this two-and-a-half-week period," said
Department of Transportation Secretary Timothy W. Martin. "We want
everyone to enjoy the last big weekend this summer but to do so
responsibly. It's simple: If you drink, don't drive. It's just not
worth the risk."
The enforcement campaign combines focused law enforcement efforts
and will highlight strict enforcement of drunk-driving laws during
the 17-day crackdown. Statewide, about 350 local law enforcement
agencies will be teaming up with the Illinois State Police to
conduct more than 210 roadside safety checks and saturation patrols.
Nationally, $14 million will be spent on a public awareness
campaign, the largest advertising campaign since the program debuted
in 1999. Here in Illinois, state and local law enforcement efforts
will be backed by a $950,000 media buy to spread the message against
"Our message is simple: We are taking a zero-tolerance approach
to those who decide to drink and drive," said Illinois State Police
Director Larry Trent. "Motorists should expect to see law
enforcement out in full force during the next 17 days. I want to be
very clear: If you drive while impaired, you will go to jail."
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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 in
Illinois. This is an epidemic in Illinois," Martin said. "We believe
that through strict law enforcement, we can combat this very serious
and deadly problem."
In addition to checking for impairment, police will also be
checking for compliance with Illinois' primary enforcement seat belt
Department of Transportation news release]