"Drunk driving fatalities have dropped overall during recent years
in Illinois, but this data shows that drunk driving remains a grave
threat," said Illinois Transportation Secretary Ann L. Schneider.
"The senseless loss of life brought by people who drive after
drinking is unacceptable. This holiday season, we want all drivers
to take heed and remember that if you drink and drive, you risk
arrest and, at a minimum, the loss of your license."
holiday safety campaign features the familiar "Drive Sober or Get
Pulled Over" and "Click It or Ticket" messages and has at its center
stepped-up enforcement patrols on driving under the influence and
seat belt laws, focusing on the most deadly nighttime hours.
Illinois motorists will see this lifesaving effort in their
communities and around the state through the first weekend of 2014.
Law enforcement will conduct hundreds of roadside safety checks,
safety belt enforcement zones and enforcement patrols looking for
drunk drivers and seat belt law violators.
"Every motorist should think twice and consider the consequences
before drinking and driving this holiday season," said Illinois
State Police Lt. Col. Terry Lemming. "Law enforcement across
Illinois and beyond will be saturating the roadways and interstates,
pushing for zero fatalities, and urge drivers to take responsibility
before getting behind the wheel."
To date in 2013, overall Illinois fatalities have been about 2.5
percent higher than during the same period in 2012. The holiday
safety campaign seeks to keep fatalities as low as possible through
what can be a very dangerous time on Illinois roads. As of Dec. 17,
provisional numbers show Illinois motor vehicle fatalities at 950
for 2013 to date, 20 more than the same period last year.
Recent data for 2012 released by the National Highway Traffic
Safety Administration showed that Illinois drunk driving fatalities
increased rather significantly from 2011 to 2012. NHTSA estimates
show 2012 Illinois drunk driving fatalities — motor vehicle deaths
involving at least one driver with a blood alcohol count of 0.08 or
higher — totaled 321, compared with 278 in 2011, reflecting a 15.5
percent increase. Nationally, drunk driving fatalities increased 4.6
percent, with 2011 fatalities totaling 9,865 and 2012 fatalities of
[to top of second column]
Despite the increase in 2012, Illinois drunk driving
fatalities have declined significantly since 2007, with federal
data showing a drop from 439 Illinois drunk driving fatalities
in 2007 to 321 in 2012, a 29.1 percent reduction overall,
despite the one-year uptick in 2012.
IDOT data shows 10 people died in 10 fatal crashes on Illinois
roads last year during the Christmas holiday period, including
crashes that occurred from 6 p.m. Dec. 21 to midnight Dec. 25. Of
the 10 individuals killed last year, two lost their lives in crashes
involving a driver who had been drinking.
"We want everyone to enjoy their holidays, but we also want our
roadways to be safe. So remember this holiday season, 'Drive Sober
or Get Pulled Over' and 'Click It or Ticket,'" Schneider said.
The Illinois "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over" and "Click It or
Ticket" programs are funded with federal safety funds provided
through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The
programs are administered by IDOT and supported by the Illinois
State Police and local law enforcement across the state. For more
information about these and other traffic safety programs, go to
Illinois Department of
Transportation file received from the
Illinois Office of
Communication and Information]