Police to step up traffic details at holidays

Opinion: Letters to the editor

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The holiday season is often a joyous time with family and friends. Sadly, the increase in festivities too often leads to an increased number of impaired drivers on our roads. To help keep roads safe, state and local law enforcement, in partnership with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, will be looking for impaired drivers during a special Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over enforcement detail from Dec. 18 to Jan. 2.

According to the NHTSA, 37,461 people were killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes in 2016, and 28 percent (10,497) of those fatalities occurred in a crash in which a driver had a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) at or above the limit of 0.08.

In December, from 2012 to 2016, a total of 14,472 people lost their lives in motor vehicle traffic crashes, and again 28 percent, or 3,995, died in a crash that involved a driver with a BAC of .08 or higher.

Most of these senseless vehicle crashes could have been avoided if the impaired driver had simply not gotten behind the wheel.

Driving impaired by alcohol, drugs or both is a deadly choice that too often carries deadly consequences. The choice should always be simple: Never drive impaired.

Choosing to drive impaired by alcohol, drugs or both is selfish and reckless.

For this reason, law enforcement throughout Illinois will be out in full force looking for impaired drivers. Anyone caught driving while impaired by alcohol, drugs or both faces a driving-under-the-influence charge with the potential for significant legal and financial consequences. 

With a DUI, a driver faces jail time, the loss of their driver's license, higher insurance rates and other expenses including attorney fees, court costs, car towing, repairs and lost wages. There is also the humiliation and consequences of telling family, friends and employers of the arrest.

As you head out from your holiday parties, always remember: Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over. Plan for a sober ride home ahead of time and never risk driving after drinking or using any kind of impairing drugs or substances.

Thomas Weitzel, police chief

Riverside

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