MADD, ISP and local police agencies roll out largest-ever Labor Day
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1,600 special patrols aimed at drunk driving
service announcement sharing personal experiences to debut
[AUG. 31, 2006]
SPRINGFIELD -- The Illinois Department of
Transportation, Illinois State Police and local law enforcement
agencies are teaming up with Mothers Against Drunk Driving in the most aggressive campaign ever targeting impaired drivers
throughout the state of Illinois. The 17-day statewide enforcement and
education campaign is taking place through Monday, centering on the Labor Day weekend, the last major
holiday of the summer.
"We know millions of Americans will be celebrating Labor Day by
going to parties and hitting the roads, but you should know police
across the state will be hitting the roads too, looking for drunk
drivers," IDOT Secretary Timothy W. Martin said. "With more than 40
percent of our state's traffic fatalities involving alcohol, we need
to be aggressive, and increased enforcement is a way to save more
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 buy, to raise awareness of the consequences of driving
Here in Illinois, the Labor Day "You Drink & Drive. You Lose"
campaign is a combined $1.7 million education and enforcement effort
to get drunk drivers off the road. Statewide, 248 agencies are
teaming up with the Illinois State Police to conduct more than 220
roadside safety checks and nearly 1,400 saturation patrols.
"Holidays are a time when people get caught up in the festivities
and make bad decisions," said Susan McKinney, executive director of
MADD Illinois. "That's why MADD is joining forces with America's law
enforcement and highway safety officials to send a clear message to
drivers: If you drive drunk this Labor Day, you will be arrested. No
exceptions. No excuses."
Nationally, $11 million will be spent on a public awareness
campaign, the largest advertising campaign since You Drink & Drive.
You Lose was introduced in 1999. In Illinois, state and local law
enforcement efforts are backed by a more than $700,000 media buy
to spread the message against impaired driving.
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IDOT is also debuting a new public service announcement aimed at
reducing the number of impaired drivers on Illinois roadways. The
message, called "True Stories," was produced internally and displays
a true story about Illinois residents revealing their personal
experiences with drunk drivers. This announcement is being broadcast
statewide during the Labor Day enforcement period, and more "True
Stories" will follow.
According to Illinois State Police
Director Larry Trent said, hundreds of law enforcement officers with a
special emphasis on zero-tolerance are being deployed statewide
during the Aug. 18-Sept. 4 period. "We will be taking a focused approach to identify and
arrest anyone who decides to drink and drive," he said. "The message is simple
and clear: If you drink and drive, you will have to face the
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration,
studies reveal that nearly 97 percent of the American public sees
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.
Motorists can also expect enforcement agencies to be checking for
compliance with Illinois' primary enforcement safety belt law, in
addition to checking for impairment. Since Gov. Blagojevich signed
the primary safety belt law, the usage rate has increased from 76
percent to 88 percent, and the number of fatalities has dropped to
the lowest levels in 60 years.
Department of Transportation news release]