The Illinois Department of Transportation, Illinois State Police and nearly 300 law enforcement agencies across the state are teaming up to continue the life-saving, end-of-year push of 2012 called “Drive to Survive.”
In 2010 and 2011, respectively, 927 and 918 people died in motor vehicle crashes in Illinois. Throughout 2012, fatalities have consistently been higher compared to last year, and as of December 20, provisional totals show that 937 people have lost their lives in motor vehicle crashes, 53 higher than at the same time last year.
The Drive to Survive campaign features the familiar “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” and “Click It or Ticket” messages and has at its center, stepped-up DUI and seat belt law enforcement focusing patrols on deadly nighttime hours. This more visible enforcement will become even stronger during the final two weeks of the year. Motorists, particularly those traveling during nighttime hours, will see hundreds of roadside safety checks, seat belt enforcement zones and enforcement patrols looking for drunk drivers and unbuckled motorists.
This increase in enforcement comes at a time of year when data shows late-night alcohol involvement is higher and seat belt use lower than at other times throughout the year. Data from IDOT and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows late-night hours are when the highest percentage of drivers involved in fatal crashes test positive for alcohol and the lowest percentage of vehicle occupant fatalities use seat belts.
“December late-night crash data tells us there are more drinking drivers on our roads during late-night hours,” said Illinois Transportation Secretary Ann L. Schneider. “That’s why IDOT provides funding for the Illinois State Police and local law enforcement throughout the state to step up DUI and seat belt law enforcement during the holidays. We want everyone to enjoy their holidays, but we also want our roadways to be safe. So remember this holiday season, Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over and Click It or Ticket.”
Crash data for the past five years shows that, on average, 77 percent of drivers involved in motor vehicle crash fatalities between midnight and 3 a.m. tested positive for alcohol. The picture is completely different during the higher-traffic, daytime hours when 21 percent of drivers involved in fatalities test positive for alcohol.
In December, the late-night alcohol numbers are typically worse with 83 percent of drivers involved in motor vehicle crash fatalities testing positive for alcohol.
The Illinois Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over and Click It or Ticket programs are funded with federal safety funds provided through NHTSA. The programs are administered by IDOT and supported by the Illinois State Police and local law enforcement agencies across Illinois.
For more information about these and other traffic safety programs, go to trafficsafety.illinois.gov.