The Illinois State Police is encouraging motorists to "think twice” when consuming alcohol this holiday season, as the stakes continue to rise for those willing to roll the dice and drive while intoxicated.
As a reminder, ISP District 18 is kicking-off a series of holiday enforcement and education blitzes, stressing the financial impact, notoriety and other consequences associated with driving under the influence offenses. Thus far this calendar year, District 18 troopers have made 204 arrests for DUI and zero tolerance. In addition, 20 fatalities have occurred in the district, five of which were the result of impaired drivers.
A DUI arrest and conviction not only presents numerous inconveniences to the violator, but is getting progressively more expensive. A DUI conviction can range between $15,000 and $18,000 when you figure in legal fees, court costs, income loss, high-risk insurance, basic remedial substance abuse class, secretary of state and vendor costs with the Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device, towing/impoundment fees and driver’s license reinstatement. This does not include additional costs involved with a DUI crash – such as medical treatment for injuries or fatalities, civil settlements awarded to crash survivors, and additional legal and court fees. We would much rather see people using that money in positive ways – especially this time of year.
During the blitzes, our district will forward weekly news releases to local newspapers, identifying the names, ages and home towns of those arrested for DUI – requesting publication of this information. In addition, the Illinois Department of Transportation will be conducting a major media campaign statewide to raise public awareness regarding traffic safety, emphasizing the consequences of driving while impaired.
As always, aggressive enforcement will still play a major role in the holiday blitzes. We will be stepping up efforts on all fronts – including roadside safety checks.
Hopefully, a renewed emphasis on expense, public embarrassment, awareness, and enforcement will help more people make better decisions. The ISP’s bottom line is directly linked to saving lives on roadways – and doing all we can to prevent tragedies before they occur. As you and your loved ones prepare to celebrate the holidays, please work with us toward this goal by leaving drinking and driving out of the mix.
Capt. William Smith
District 18 Commander