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Health

Ring in the New Year safely

Impaired driving and seat belt patrols planned for New Year’s weekend

SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department of Transportation, along with state and local law enforcement, wants to ring in 2018 with zero alcohol- and drug-related crashes on Illinois roads.

As part of the annual Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over holiday enforcement period – Dec. 18 through Jan. 2 – Illinois State Police and more than 150 law enforcement agencies across the state are conducting increased DUI, speeding and distracted driving patrols, as well as roadside safety checks and seat belt enforcement zones.

“While New Year’s Eve is a time for celebration, it’s vital that we keep that celebration off our roads,” Priscilla Tobias, Director of IDOT’s Office of Program Development, said in a news release “Roadway safety is everyone’s responsibility. By making a resolution to drive sober and buckle up, we can all help to make zero fatalities a reality in Illinois.”

As 2017 comes to an end, Illinois is experiencing a second consecutive year of more than 1,000 motor vehicle crash fatalities. In 2016, there were 1,078 fatalities. The current pace may match or surpass that. During New Year’s weekend over the past five years, there have been 46 fatalities on Illinois roadways, 41 percent of which involved alcohol.

“Celebrate smart this New Year’s Eve by planning ahead,” ISP Director Leo P. Schmitz, said in a news release. “Designate a driver before consuming alcohol. Drive sober or get pulled over.”

If you are celebrating over the holidays, follow these life-saving tips:

• Designate a sober driver ahead of time or plan to use your community’s sober ride program, call a cab, or use your favorite ride-sharing app.

• Don’t let friends and family members drive impaired. Help them get home safely.

• Wear your seat belt and make sure all your passengers do the same.

• Promptly report drunk drivers to law enforcement.

The Illinois Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over and Click It or Ticket programs are funded with federal highway safety dollars administered by IDOT.

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