Drive safe this holiday weekend

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Several law-enforcement agencies and Mothers Against Drunk Driving are reminding all motorists to drive sober this Fourth of July holiday or face severe consequences.

Through Sunday, July 6, the Illinois State Police and more than 320 local law-enforcement agencies are joining the Illinois Department of Transportation in a crackdown on drunk drivers and drunk motorcycle operators.

This stepped-up effort is intended to reduce crashes on Illinois roads during a key summer travel time and to continue to hold the line on motor vehicle fatalities so far this year. So far this year, 392 people have died in motor vehicle crashes through July 1, compared to 477 during the same time frame in 2013.

“IDOT and law enforcement remind everyone this weekend that if you drink and drive in Illinois this Fourth of July, you will be caught,” Tonya Loker, IDOT’s director of transportation safety, said in statement.

“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.”

To boost safety around the holiday weekend, the Illinois State Police enforcement will focus on the “fatal four” – speeding, seatbelts, distracted driving and DUI, said State Police Director Hiram Grau.

Eighteen people were killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes during the 2013 Fourth of July holiday, according to IDOT data.

Of those fatalities, six – or 33 percent – occurred in crashes that involved at least one driver or motorcycle operator who had been drinking.

In the last five years in Illinois, 58 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes during the Fourth of July holiday period, and 50 percent (29) of those fatalities involved at least one driver who had been drinking.

As part of the this year’s crackdown, local police and sheriff’s departments will be putting in thousands of additional patrol hours in the form of roadside safety checks, seat belt enforcement zones and hundreds of saturation patrols to find drunk and unbuckled drivers and passengers.

The stepped-up impaired driving enforcement is funded by nearly $1 million in federal traffic safety funds through IDOT’s Division of Transportation Safety.


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