IDOT, Illinois State Police and local law enforcement across the
state remind celebrators to designate a sober driver this St.
enforcement designed to get drunk drivers off the road
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[March 15, 2014]
CHICAGO — As St. Patrick's Day
approaches, the Illinois Department of Transportation, Illinois
State Police and nearly 200 local law enforcement agencies urge
motorists to plan a safe ride home and never get behind the wheel
after drinking. Now through the March 17 holiday, state and local
law enforcement officers across Illinois will have an increased
presence to crack down on drunk drivers as part of the "Drive Sober
or Get Pulled Over" campaign.
St. Patrick's Day means many Illinoisans will be celebrating with
family and friends at local parades, restaurants and drinking
establishments. These celebrations can turn deadly if someone
chooses to drink and drive.
"Drunk driving is a dangerous, deadly and senseless crime that
will not be tolerated in Illinois," said Illinois Transportation
Secretary Ann L. Schneider. "Today we are giving fair warning to
anyone planning to be on the road during St. Patrick's Day that law
enforcement officers will be on patrol all over Illinois. Don't risk
your life and the lives of others on the road. Be responsible and
designate a sober driver before you go out. Then you can truly relax
According to data from IDOT, over the past five years (2009-2013)
in Illinois, 10 people lost their lives in motor vehicle crashes on
St. Patrick's Day alone. Two of those fatalities resulted from
crashes in which a driver had been drinking alcohol. Last year on
St. Patrick's Day, three people in Illinois died in crashes, and one
of those fatalities resulted from a crash in which a driver had been
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that
more than 269 people have been killed nationwide in crashes
involving drunk drivers during the St. Patrick's Day holiday from
2007 to 2011. (The NHTSA defines St. Patrick's Day as 6 p.m. March
16 to 5:59 a.m. March 18.)
In 2011, on average, one person was killed every 53 minutes in a
drunk-driving crash in the United States, according to NHTSA. Most
of these crashes involved drunk drivers who had blood alcohol
concentrations of 0.15 or higher, almost twice the legal limit of
March 13-17, some $650,000 in federal highway safety dollars will
fund Illinois roadside safety checks, saturation patrols and other
impaired driving and seat belt law enforcement efforts. In addition
to the Illinois State Police and the Illinois Secretary of State
Police, nearly 200 local law enforcement agencies are participating.
A combined total of 1,000 or more roadside safety checks, seat belt
enforcement zones and other enforcement patrols will occur during
the St. Patrick's Day period, with most patrols taking place on the
weekend and the evening of March 17.
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There is no luck involved. Just follow these simple steps so
you can enjoy a safe St. Patrick's Day without jeopardizing your
life and the lives of others on the road.
If you are hosting a party:
Remember, you can
be held liable and prosecuted if someone you served is involved
in an impaired-driving crash.
Make sure all of
your guests designate their sober drivers in advance, or help
arrange ride-sharing with other sober drivers.
Serve lots of food
and include lots of nonalcoholic beverages at the party.
Keep the numbers for local cab
companies handy, and take the keys away from anyone who is
thinking of driving impaired.
If you are attending a party:
sober driver before the party begins and give that person
your car keys.
If you do not have
a designated driver, ask a sober friend for a ride home; call a
cab, a sober friend or a family member to pick you up; use
public transportation if available; or just stay where you are
and sleep it off until you are sober;
Never let a friend
leave your sight if you think they are about to drive while
Always buckle up — it is still your
best defense against an impaired driver.
St. Patrick's Day* motor vehicle
crash fatalities in Illinois
*Fatalities occurred on March 17 from midnight
through 11:59 p.m.
**Fatalities that resulted from a crash in which at least one
driver, either surviving or deceased, had a BAC of 0.01 or greater.
Illinois Department of
Transportation file received from the
Illinois Office of
Communication and Information]