(Springfield, IL) – March 12, 2011. Illinois will spend this year an estimated $800,000 in federal highway safety dollars to fund the extra Illinois State Police patrols to target St. Patrick’s Day drunk driver follies.
Beginning March 11 and continuing through the weekend following March 17, the Illinois Department of Transportation, the Illinois State Police and more than 150 law enforcement agencies will roll out roadside safety checks, saturation patrols and other impaired driving countermeasures along with nighttime safety belt and other patrols for the St. Patrick’s Day holiday celebrations.
In addition to the state police, 157 local law enforcement agencies are participating in a combined total of more than 500 roadside safety checks, safety belt enforcement zones and other enforcement details during the entire St. Patrick’s Day period.
“We hope the St. Patrick’s Day holiday continues to be the popular and joyous celebration it has become, without being spoiled by impaired drivers,” said Illinois Transportation Secretary Gary Hannig.
“For those thinking about drinking and driving, the message is clear. Don’t do it.”
According to data from the Illinois Department of Transportation, during the past five years in Illinois, 15 people died in motor vehicle crashes on St. Patrick’s Day. Seven of those fatalities involved a driver who had been drinking alcohol. During the same timeframe, a total of 1,261 people were injured in St. Patrick’s Day crashes.
“The Illinois State Police and local law enforcement will increase patrols during the St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in an effort to prevent alcohol-related tragedies,” said Interim ISP Director Patrick Keen. “Individuals who drive impaired will be arrested.”
You have been warned.