The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) and the Illinois State Police (ISP) hope to continue the downward trend of traffic deaths on state roads by conducting a large scale DUI and seatbelt enforcement.
The Fourth of July is often a fun holiday filled with family and fireworks, but Tonya Loker, IDOT Director of Traffic Safety, said the holiday also involves two dangerous elements: heavy traffic and alcohol. Loker said the added patrols will help keep Fourth of July commuters safe.
“IDOT and law enforcement remind everyone this weekend that if you drink and drive in Illinois this Fourth of July, you will be caught,” said Loker. “Whether driving a car or motorcycle, if you plan on drinking alcohol, designate a sober driver or find a safe way home BEFORE the party begins. Be responsible or risk a DUI.”
The added patrols begin today and run through Sunday, July 6. ISP Director Hiram Grau said the patrols will focus on drivers who violate four of the most dangerous driving acts.
“The upcoming Fourth of July holiday means law enforcement statewide will be out on the roads enforcing laws to avoid tragic outcomes. To boost safety around the holiday weekend, the Illinois State Police enforcement efforts will focus on the Fatal Four – Speeding, Seatbelts, Distracted Driving and DUI.”
The Illinois State Police and more than 320 local law enforcement agencies will join IDOT in the DUI and seatbelt crackdown, and before you start thinking that you only need to make it to the state border to avoid the extra patrols, know that Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa are conducting similar sweeps.
Although 85 less individuals have lost their lives on Illinois roads this year compared to the same time last year, the Fourth of July holiday if often the deadliest weekend of the year, especially when the holiday falls on a Friday.
According to IDOT, 18 motorists died on Illinois roads during the Fourth of July holiday last year, and 33 percent of those deaths involved at least one driver who had been drinking. 58 people have lost their lives on Illinois roads during the holiday weekend in the last five years, and 50 percent of the fatalities have involved an inebriated driver.
Brett Appelman added that the drive sober sentiment should apply to all vehicles this weekend.
“Be smart over the holiday weekend when it comes to drinking and driving,” said Appelman. “Just because it’s not a car doesn’t mean you aren’t subjected to the same laws. If you’re over the legal limit, steer clean of recreational vehicles like boats, pontoons and ATVs.”
Related source: IDOT