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Police stepping up efforts during St. Patrick's Day weekend

Published: Thursday, March 13, 2014 9:39 p.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, March 14, 2014 9:44 a.m. CDT

CHICAGO – As St. Patrick’s Day approaches, the Illinois Department of Transportation, Illinois State Police and nearly 200 local law enforcement agencies urge motorists to plan a safe ride home and never get behind the wheel after drinking.

Now through the March 17 holiday, state and local law enforcement officers across Illinois will have an increased presence to crack down on drunk drivers as part of the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign, according to a news release.

St. Patrick’s Day means many Illinoisans will be celebrating with family and friends at local parades, restaurants and drinking establishments. These celebrations can turn deadly if someone chooses to drink and drive.

“Drunk driving is a dangerous, deadly and senseless crime that will not be tolerated in Illinois,” Ann L. Schneider, Illinois Transportation Secretary, said in a news release. “Today we are giving fair warning to anyone planning to be on the road during St. Patrick’s Day that law enforcement officers will be on patrol all over Illinois. Don’t risk your life and the lives of others on the road. Be responsible and designate a sober driver before you go out. Then you can truly relax and celebrate.”

According to data from IDOT, over the past five years, 10 people in Illinois lost their lives in motor vehicle crashes on St. Patrick’s Day alone. Two of those fatalities resulted from crashes in which a driver had been drinking alcohol. In 2013 on St. Patrick’s Day in Illinois, three people died in crashes and one of those fatalities resulted from a crash in which a driver had been drinking alcohol.

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