SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), Illinois State Police (ISP) and motorcycle safety advocates joined forces recently to remind Illinois motorcyclists that mixing alcohol and motorcycle riding can lead to tragic results.
The “Ride Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign is paying close attention to motorcycle riders as Illinois crash data reveals the percentage of drunk motorcycle riders (motorcycle operators with a BAC of 0.08 or higher) involved in fatal crashes during late afternoon and early evening hours are more than double that of drunk drivers of any other type of passenger vehicle.
“The data indicates that many people are riding drunk in late afternoon and we must put a stop to this trend before more lives are lost on Illinois roadways,” said Illinois Transportation Secretary Ann L. Schneider.
“Ride Sober or Get Pulled Over is a very simple life-saving message for these individuals. Their behavior is dangerous and is criminal, and law enforcement officers will continue to find them and arrest them.”
IDOT and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) data shows for the 3 p.m. to 5:59 p.m. timeframe that 15 percent of motorcycle fatalities occurring during that time involve a drunk rider, compared to 6 percent of passenger vehicle fatalities during the same time.
Data shows from 6 p.m. to 8:59 p.m. to be even worse, as 24 percent of motorcycle fatalities at that time involve a drunk rider, compared to 11 percent of passenger cars.
“Whether you are traveling in a vehicle or riding on a motorcycle, safety should be the number one priority,” said ISP Colonel Michael Zerbonia.
“Every second counts when it comes to road safety and our officers will be enforcing all traffic laws and reminding motorists that seatbelts save lives.”
In 2012 in Illinois, 148 motorcyclists died in motor vehicle crashes. That was a slight increase from 2011 motorcycle fatalities, when 145 motorcyclists lost their lives.
Motorcycle riders continue to be over-represented in Illinois motor vehicle crash fatalities.
In 2012, motorcycles made up 3 percent of all registered motor vehicles, yet motorcycle riders represented more than 15 percent of all motor vehicle fatalities.
“When motorcyclists fail to make smart choices, their decisions may have fatal results,” said Bruce Liebe, President of the Lincoln Land Chapter of A.B.A.T.E.
For more information on motorcycle safety and drunk driving in Illinois, log on to startseeingmotorcycles.org or drivesoberillinois.org.