Funded by the Illinois Department of Transportation Division of
Traffic Safety, the enforcement effort involves the Illinois State
Police, the Secretary of State Police and more than 215 other police
agencies, statewide. These departments will be conducting hundreds
of roadside safety checks and roving patrols during the two-week
period. The crackdown also includes a media campaign that will
remind the public: "You Drink & Drive. You Lose."
"In the past few years, drivers in Illinois have done a great job
of buckling up and helping to drastically reduce the overall number
of traffic fatalities in our state," Blagojevich said. "However, we
havenít seen a corresponding reduction in alcohol-related
fatalities. Thatís why IDOT is working with the Illinois State
Police and hundreds of police agencies across the state to get
impaired drivers off our roads and to keep our families safe."
The current campaign includes $1 million for police agencies to
pay for overtime, so departments can carry out the crackdown without
affecting their normal patrol duties, and $800,000 for a new media
campaign, titled "Loser." The new commercial illustrates how one DUI
negatively and permanently brands the offenderís image, in addition
to jail time, loss of freedom and legal consequences.
According to IDOT data, 20 people lost their lives in motor
vehicle crashes during the Labor Day weekend in Illinois last year.
Seven of those deaths involved a drinking driver.
"In 2006 in Illinois, 594 people died in alcohol-related crashes.
That is nearly 50 lives per month," said Illinois Secretary of State
Jesse White. "The message we want to share today is simple: If you
drive drunk, we will arrest you. I am proud to partner with IDOT,
ISP and local law enforcement agencies for this important
initiative. Every drunk driving fatality is one too many."
"Illinois has seen a historic drop in traffic fatalities under
the leadership of Gov. Blagojevich -- to levels we havenít seen
since 1924," said Illinois Department of Transportation Secretary
Milton R. Sees. "But, with more than 45 percent of our stateís
traffic fatalities involving alcohol, we know we need to continue
aggressively attacking the problem of drunk drivers. Increased
enforcement is a way to save more lives. As summer is winding down,
we are putting the public on notice -- if you drink and drive, you
are going to lose."
[to top of second column]
The Illinois partnership is part of a national campaign being
coordinated with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The national crackdown combines the mobilization of thousands of law
enforcement agencies in all 50 states, backed by a major media push,
to raise awareness of the consequences of driving impaired.
According to NHTSA, studies reveal that nearly 97 percent of the
American public sees drinking and driving by others as a threat to
their families and themselves.
"The Labor Day holiday is considered to be the last chapter of
the summer season, and many individuals celebrate throughout the
weekend," said Illinois State Police Director Larry G. Trent. "For
those who elect to drive while intoxicated, be forewarned that the
ISP and our law enforcement partners will have zero tolerance toward
impaired driving. If you choose to drive while intoxicated, you will
Motorists can also expect enforcement agencies to check for
compliance with Illinoisí primary enforcement safety belt law, in
addition to checking for impairment. Since Blagojevich signed the
primary safety belt law in 2003, the safety belt usage rate in
Illinois climbed from 76 percent to 90 percent in each of the past
two years, and fatalities on Illinois roads have declined
In 2003, there were 1,454 total fatalities in Illinois; in 2004,
there were 1,355; there were 1,363 in 2005; in 2006, there were
1,254; and in 2007, there were 1,248. The past two years have seen
the lowest number of traffic fatalities since 1924, when there were
1,065. In 2008, as of Aug. 15, the state has recorded 146 fewer
fatalities on a provisional basis than in 2007.
[Text from file received from
Illinois Office of
Communication and Information]