As long as we’ve been police officers, we’ve never gotten used to the sorrow we feel when we’re called to the scene of a crash where someone has died. Making matters worse is all too often those in the crash were not buckled up or alcohol was involved. This senseless loss of human life is a daily reality here in Riverside and all over Illinois – year after year.

It is illegal in all 50 States, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico to drive with a blood-alcohol concentration of .08 grams per deciliter.

Despite these laws, in 2010, more than 10,000 people died in crashes in which a driver or motorcycle rider was impaired. In Illinois in 2010, 298 people lost their lives to an impaired driver.

The fact is that impaired-driving deaths have declined dramatically since the 1980s. Social activism, including the rise of organizations such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and Alliance Against Intoxicated Motorists (AAIM), led to tighter laws that helped bring the death toll down.

Because we are committed to ending the tragedy of motor vehicle crash fatalities, Riverside and Brookfield have joined others throughout Illinois and the nation for the intensive crackdown on impaired driving through the Labor Day weekend. The crackdown occurs Aug. 17 through Labor Day, Sept. 3. Riverside and Brookfield also will be strongly enforcing our state’s seat belt laws, in the front and back seats, because we understand seat belts save lives.

As police officers, our message during this crackdown, and all year long, is clear and unwavering: Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over and Click It or Ticket. With stepped-up law enforcement throughout Illinois – including roadside safety checks – if we catch you driving impaired, you will face serious consequences. If you’re unbuckled, you will receive a ticket.

Thomas Weitzel, chief of police

Lt. James Episcopo
Brookfield Police Department