As friends and family gather to celebrate the upcoming Fourth July holiday, local law enforcement will be conducting extra patrols in an effort to stop drunken drivers.
The concerted effort is part of the Illinois Department of Transportation's "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over" campaign. During this campaign, the Crawford County Sheriff's Department has teamed up with police departments from Robinson, Oblong, Palestine and Hutsonville to concentrate their efforts on county-wide impaired driving during the enforcement period.
From 2011 to 2015 39 percent of all traffic fatalities in the United States during the Fourth of July period occurred in crashes that involved alcohol-impaired driving. Illinois is committed to making zero fatalities a reality on its roads, and that starts with enforcing save driving behaviors.
Robinson Police Chief Chad Weaver said that his department will be out in full force in an effort to enforce a zero-tolerance policy.
"If you choose to head to a Fourth of July party and make the terrible decision to drink and drive, don't be mistaken - if you get caught you will be arrested," Weaver said.
"This is deadly, irresponsible behavior and we will be out in full force to put a stop to it wherever we can. The 'Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over' campaign means zero tolerance for drunk driving. There are plenty of safe ways for you to get home after a night of drinking alcohol. We will accept no excuses."
In every state and the District of Columbia, it is illegal to drive with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher. A DUI arrest means a loss of freedom and money, including going to jail, losing your license and paying steep financial costs.
"This Fourth of July don't risk losing your life or your independence by drinking and driving. Help make everyone's holiday in Crawford County safer by driving sober," Weaver said. "There's no excuse - drive sober or get pulled over."
The department and sheriff's office would like to remind everyone celebrating, to designate a sober driver if you plan on drinking and don't let friends drive drunk.
Party hosts should remember that they can be held liable and prosecuted if someone to whom they serve alcohol is involved in a drunken-driving crash. Hosts should make an effort to designate a sobermdriver in advance or help arrange ride-sharing with other sober drivers.
Plenty of food should be served at parties, along with non-alcoholic beverages. Phone numbers for local cab companies will also be handy, as is taking the keys away from anyone who is thinking of driving drunk. Party attendants should also give their designated driver their keys before arrival.
If a designated driver is not available, you should ask a sober friend for a ride home, call a cab or sober friend of family member to pick you up. If that fails, the best thing you can do is stay where you are and sleep if off until you are sober.
Friends should never let their friends leave their sight if they think they are about to drive drunk. Above all else be sure to remember to always buckle up, it is the best defense in a crash.
The Fourth of July "Drive Sober of Get Pulled Over" crackdown is funded by federal traffic safety funds from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration administered through the Illinois Department of Transportation.