This Labor Day, families and friends will be celebrating the end of the summer. Sadly, this festive time is also a dangerous time on our roads, as many alcohol- and drug-impaired drivers get behind the wheel after celebrating. For this reason, the Evanston Police Department is partnering with the Illinois Department of Transportation to stop drunk drivers and help save lives.   

The high-visibility “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” crackdown runs from Aug. 22 through Sept. 5. During this period, law enforcement across Illinois will show zero tolerance for impaired driving and seat belt law violators. Increased state and national messaging about the dangers of drunk and drugged driving, coupled with roadside safety checks and increased officers on the road, aim to reduce impaired driving in Evanston and Illinois. 

“We need people to understand that impaired driving is a deadly crime,” said Sergeant Tracy Williams, Traffic Unit Supervisor.  “Impaired driving is a massive problem in the United States, with more than 10,000 people dying annually.  There are people who like to pretend that certain laws don’t apply to them, but to be clear: In every state, for every person, it is illegal to drive with a BAC of .08 or higher.” 

During the crackdown period, there will be a special emphasis on impaired driving enforcement. Local drivers should expect to see more patrol vehicles and increased messaging about the dangers of drunk and drugged driving. 

“This is an unacceptable problem. Impaired driving is selfish and dangerous. We want to increase awareness with this campaign, but also see lasting results of decreased impaired driving,” Williams said. “Please, please: plan ahead before you go out. Designate a sober driver or call a cab. But whatever you do, do not drink and drive.” 

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has made it even easier to get home safely when you’ve been drinking, with the free SaferRide mobile app, available through iTunes and Google Play. The app allows you to call pre-selected contacts or a taxi, and also identifies your location so you can be picked up. 

This August, and every day, remember: there is never an excuse to drive impaired. If you choose to break the law, The Evanston Police Department will arrest you – “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.” 

In addition to looking for drunk drivers, Evanston Police will be stepping up seat belt enforcement, particularly at night when seat belt usage rates are at their lowest. 

Sergeant Williams wants you to know that always designating a sober driver and not letting friends drive drunk are just two simple steps to help avoid a tragic crash or an arrest for drunk driving. Other important tips include: 

  • Remember, you can be held liable and prosecuted if someone you serve is involved in a drunk-driving crash.
  • Make sure all of your guests designate a sober driver in advance, or help arrange ride-sharing with other sober drivers.
  • Serve lots of food and include lots of non-alcoholic beverages at the party.
  • Keep the phone numbers for local cab companies handy and take the keys away from anyone who is thinking of driving drunk.
  • Designate a sober driver before the party begins and give that person your car keys.
  • If you do not have a designated driver, ask a sober friend for a ride home, call a cab, sober friend or family member to pick you up, or just stay where you are and sleep it off until you are sober.
  • Never let friends leave your sight if you think they are about to drive while drunk.
  • Always buckle up – it is your best defense against a drunk driver. 

The Labor Day “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” crackdown is made possible by federal highway safety funds administered by the Illinois Department of Transportation.