Authorities aim to reduce Chicago car accidents with heavy enforcement through Labor Day

Illinois State Police and law enforcement agencies throughout the state will participate in the “You Drink & Drive. You Lose” campaign through the Labor Day weekend. The effort comes as the federal government releases statistics showing as many as 8 percent of all drivers — or 17 million motorists — have driven drunk in the last year.

The Illinois Department of Transportation reported this week that drunk driving accidents in Chicago and throughout Illinois have declined steadily since 2002.But the federal report shows much work remains. All 50 states will join in the crackdown, which will be augmented by a $13 million “Drunk Driving. Over the Limit. Under Arrest” media campaign.

“Drunk driving is deadly, it’s against the law, and unfortunately, it’s still a problem,” said Secretary Ray LaHood. “With the help of law enforcement around the country, we are going to continue doing all that we can to stop drunk driving and the needless tragedies that result from this reckless behavior.”

In Illinois, over 300 agencies will conduct nearly 200 roadside safety checkpoints, impaired driving patrols and nighttime safety belt patrols over the next two weeks.

“IDOT and its partners are committed to the fight against impaired driving in Illinois. We are very gratified that in recent years Illinois has seen reductions in the number of fatalities caused by impaired drivers,” said Illinois Transportation Secretary Gary Hannig. “These reductions represent lives saved and are the result of the remarkable dedication shown by the Illinois State Police and local law enforcement agencies in every part of our state, along with more drivers and passengers buckling up. Combined with the educational efforts of the You Drink & Drive. You Lose. and Click It or Ticket campaigns along with increased law enforcement efforts, we are extremely pleased that fewer people are driving impaired and more people are wearing their safety belts.”

The state reports the number of alcohol related fatal crashes has declined sharply, from 634 in 1994 to 434 in 2008. Still, more than one-third of the state’s 1,043 fatal traffic accidents involved alcohol – in many of those cases, the incident involved a car accident in Chicago.

The new federal study found that young males were at the highest risk — a full one-fourth had either driven under the influence of alcohol or rode in a car with an intoxicated driver at some point in the last 12 months.

Results of the

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