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Police Out in Full Force Over New Year's Eve

New Year’s Eve continues a big night for drunk driving enforcement and arrests.

The slogan “Don’t Drink and Drive” can become trite until you consider the numbers. Numbers like the 258 lives lost in drunk driving crashes in 2012.

It is one of the statistics that local and state police hope makes you think twice about drinking and driving this holiday weekend.

Police throughout the area, including sheriff’s deputies in Lake, Cook and McHenry County, will be doing special drunk driving enforcements for New Year’s Eve.

Lake in the Hills Police Up Enforcement

In Lake in the Hills, an enforcement campaign will run from Dec. 17 through Jan. 1 and the police department will be focused on keeping drunken drivers off the roads, according to a LITH Police Department press release.

"We know the holiday season can be one of the deadliest and most dangerous times on America's roadways due to drunken driving," said Sgt. Eric Decker with the Lake in the Hills Police Department. "Taking a risk on having your 2012 end in an arrest or death is just not worth it."

During a Thanksgiving campaign, which took place from Nov. 12 through Nov. 25, LITH Police arrested three people for driving under the influence, 34 vehicles were stopped for violations of the Illinois Vehicle Code and 53 citations were issued, according to the news release.

The police department offers the following tips for staying safe during the holiday season:

  • Plan a safe way home before the festivities begin
  • Before drinking, designate a sober driver and leave your car keys at home
  • If you're impaired, use a taxi, call a sober friend or family member or use public transportation
  • If you happen to see a drunken driver on the road, don't hesitate to contact your local law enforcement
  • If you know someone who is about to drive or ride with a driver who is impaired, take the driver's keys and help them make other arrangements to get to where they are going safely

"The message is simple, drinking alcohol and driving do not mix. If you plan to consume alcohol, you should plan not to get behind the wheel of a vehicle or ride a motorcycle," said James Wales, directory of police and public safety for the Lake in the Hills Police Department.

Illinois State Police to Conduct Roadside Safety Checks

Illinois State police will be conducting roadside safety checks and special alcohol enforcement on highways and tollways. The patrols will focus on four areas that often cause fatal crashes: speeding, DUI, seat belt compliance and distracted driving, according to a release.

“Alcohol or drug impairment is a significant factor in more than 40 percent of all fatal motor vehicle crashes in Illinois,” District 15 Commander Captain Joe Perez said. “The Illinois State Police has zero tolerance for impaired driving.”

Midnight to 3 a.m. is the deadliest time on Illinois roads, according to the Illinois Department of Transportation and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The data also shows alcohol and lack of seat belts play a significant role in fatal crashes.

“The numbers do not lie. We will be stepping up our late-night enforcement efforts, making sure drunk drivers are off the road and motorists are buckled up,” said Sheriff Mark Curran. “In Lake County, the message is simple…Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over and Click It or Ticket.”

Secretary of State Jesse White’s office has an Illinois DUI Fact Book 2012 with more sobering numbers:

49,527

The number of people arrested in 2012 who were three time offenders, according to the fact book.

34 years old

The average DUI offender is male (77 percent arrested are men) and aged 34 (59 percent are under age 35)

.08 BAC

The state’s .08 illegal BAC became law in July 1997. At .08, all drivers are impaired to the point that critical driving skills are greatly diminished. Studies indicate that a .08 BAC impairs a driver’s ability to steer, break, change lanes, switch gears, and speed control, according to the fact book.

80 percent

Percentage of alcohol-related crash fatalities are caused by drivers with no arrests for drunk driving during the previous three years.

$16,580

The average cost of a DUI is $16,580. The amount includes high-risk insurance, legal fees, court costs, income loss, rehabilitation, driver’s license reinstatement and installation of the Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device.

There is some good news when it comes to DUI fatalities. MADD reports a 22 percent decrease in fatalities since the state’s all offender interlock law went into affect in 2009.

MADD and police recommend designating a sober driver before going out or call ahead for a taxi if you are drinking for the night.

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