The end of summer is traditionally marked by the Labor Day holiday, often celebrated through picnics, pool parties and other gatherings. Sadly, the Labor Day holiday also can be one of the deadliest due to drunk and drug-impaired motor vehicle crashes.
The Champaign Police Department is joining the Illinois Department of Transportation to help stop drunk and drug-impaired drivers and to help save lives. The high-visibility enforcement campaign, “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over,” will run now through September 5. During this period, law enforcement officers across the state will show zero tolerance for impaired driving. Officers will also be looking for seat-belt law violators.
This comprehensive effort aims to reduce the frightening national trend related to drunk driving. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 10,265 people were killed in drunk-driving crashes in 2015—an increase from 9,967 people killed in 2014. This is why the Champaign Police Department is working with IDOT to remind drivers that drunk driving is not only illegal, it is a matter of life and death.
“Driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs is a massive problem in Illinois, with more than 300 people dying annually,” said Sergeant Geoffrey Coon. “Alcohol- or drug-impaired driving is not acceptable behavior. It is essential to plan a sober ride home before you go out. Your life and the lives of others is dependent on it.”
The Champaign Police Department recommends the following safe alternatives to drinking and driving:
- If you will be drinking, designate a sober driver before you go out.
- Plan to use public transportation, call a cab or use a ride-sharing service to get home safely.
- If you see a drunk driver on the road, contact METCAD (if an emergency call 911, for non-emergency incidents call 217-333-8911).
- Have a friend who is about to drink and drive? Take the keys away and make arrangements to get your friend home safely.
The 2017 Labor Day “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign is funded by federal highway safety funds from NHTSA and managed through IDOT.