Saturday, Sept. 3


Impaired driving is focus of Labor Day weekend mobilization       Send a link to a friend

IDOT and 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 visible "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 impaired driving.

"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 law.

[Illinois Department of Transportation news release]


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