Law enforcement steps up patrol for holiday season - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Law enforcement steps up patrol for holiday season

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WSIL -- The Illinois Department of Transportation released a statement along with statistics on Monday stating there will be increased law enforcement measures.

IDOT, Illinois State Police and 170 police and sheriff's departments are teaming up to reduce drunk driving and fatal accidents during this holiday season.
 
"This most recent data clearly shows drunk driving is still very much a problem in Illinois and the nation," said IDOT Director of Traffic Safety, Jared Thornley.
 
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released 2014 statistics, including fatal accidents involving drunk drivers.
 
During the Christmas weekend last year, seven people were killed. Two were involved in drunk driving crashes.
 
There were a total of 317 drunken driving fatalities in Illinois last year, down from 322 in 2013 and 2012. There were a total of 924 total fatalities, proving drunk drivers are responsible for 34 percent of all vehicle deaths in the state.
 
To help the problem, law enforcement will work harder to eliminate the issues.
 
"We will have extra patrols. There'll be extra troopers on the roadways," said Illinois State Police spokesperson Joey Watson. "(It) is hosted through the Illinois Department of Transportation and the federal grants. It's not a part of the state budget."
 
Illinois is in a sixth month without a state budget, but Gov. Bruce Rauner declared December as Impaired Driving Prevention Month.
 
"The governor supports our efforts," Watson said.
 
Police will also be checking for seat belts more often, which is a measure Watson said helps cut down on fatalities, too.
 
"Wearing your seat belt is literally your last defense. This is your ability to keep yourself as safe as possible, in relationship to other people's bad decisions," he said.
 
Mothers Against Drunk Driving show each state's statistics of fatalities involving drunken drivers for 2013.
 
For 2013, Illinois had 322 drunk driving fatalities, which was 32.5 percent of total traffic deaths in the state and was the same amount from 2012.
 
All surrounding states had a decrease in the percent of drunken driver fatalities from 2012 to 2013 except Iowa. Iowa had the same percentage of drunken driver fatalities as Illinois, but their 32.5 percent was an increase of 7.3 percent from 2012.
 
Nationwide, South Carolina has the highest drunken driver fatalities in 2013, with 43.7 percent of their total traffic fatalities. Utah had the smallest amount, with 17.3 percent. Washington D.C. saw a 100 percent increase from 2012, which brought them to 30 percent for 2013.
 
Records for 2015 will not be available until late 2016.
 
Back in Illinois, this season's campaign slogans are "Click it or ticket" and "Drive sober or get pulled over," things Thornley wants to emphasis.
 
"This holiday season, don't put yourself or others at risk because, chances are, you'll be caught," he said.

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