SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WCIA) — Illinois Department of Transportation is urging people to drive sober over the holidays after reporting that the number of alcohol-impaired fatalities involving at least one driver with a blood alcohol content of 0.08 or higher has increased.
IDOT said a total of 1,334 people lost their lives in crashes last year, the highest total since 2005. A total of 275 people died in alcohol-impaired crashes in Illinois in 2021, an increase of 50 deaths from 2020.
IDOT said there has been a total of 1,182 fatalities in 2022 as of Dec. 14.
While there are 98 fewer deaths over this same period in 2021, IDOT, Illinois State Police, and local law enforcement agencies are still reminding motorists to drive sober during the holiday season.
“The holiday season should be a time for celebrating and making memories, not a time of tragedy and loss,” said Cynthia Watters, IDOT’s bureau chief of Safety Programs and Engineering. “Too often, alcohol at holiday events contributes to the number of impaired drivers on our roads.”
Each year, IDOT hosts their “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign during this time. The goal is to keep both alcohol and drug-impaired drivers off Illinois roads.
“Driving while impaired, either by alcohol or drugs, is not only dangerous, it can be deadly,” said ISP Director Brendan F. Kelly. “This holiday season, if you go out to celebrate, plan for a ride share or designate a driver, and make it home to your friends and family.”
Law enforcement said they will show zero tolerance for speeding, distracted driving, seat belt offenders, and other traffic violations.
More information about the campaign and other roadway safety can be found here.