The Evanston Police Department will conduct late-night enforcement efforts through the end of the year to focus on the deadliest time of day for motor vehicle fatalities.

The intensified late-night enforcement comes during the heavily-traveled holiday season and underscores the disproportionate number of traffic deaths occurring during late-night hours.

Officers in marked and unmarked police vehicles will focus on impaired drivers and seat belt violations.

During this enforcement period, officers will be conducting mobile DUI saturation patrols that focus on impaired driver’s in Evanston.

Statistics from the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the midnight to 3 a.m. timeframe is the deadliest time on Illinois roadways. Not coincidentally, the data also shows this time of day has the highest percentage of alcohol involvement and the lowest occupant restraint use.

During the Christmas holiday timeframe last year, from 6 p.m. Dec. 24 through 11:59 a.m. December 27, four people died in motor vehicle crashes in Illinois.

One of those deaths was in a crash that involved an impaired driver. In addition, 775 people were injured in crashes during this time.

During the New Year’s holiday timeframe in 2009, from 6 p.m. Dec 31 through 11:59 a.m. Jan. 3, six people in Illinois died in motor vehicle crashes.

Three of those deaths involved an impaired driver and 477 people were injured in crashes during that time.

The Evanston Police Department recommends designating a sober driver and not letting friends and family drive impaired.  These are just two of several simple steps to avoid a tragic crash or an arrest for driving under the influence.

Other important tips include:    

  • Plan ahead. Designate a sober driver before going out and give that person your keys.
  • If you are impaired, call a taxi, use mass transit or call a sober friend or family member to get you home safely.
  • Promptly report impaired drivers you see on the roadways to law enforcement;
  • Wear your safety belt and make sure all passengers are safely buckled up. It is your best defense against an impaired driver.

The law enforcement crackdown is funded by federal traffic safety funds through IDOT’s Division of Traffic Safety and runs concurrently with a media campaign that reminds motorists, “You Drink & Drive, You Lose” and  “Click It or Ticket.”

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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1 Comment

  1. Please enforce the no cell phones rule

    I believe there was an ordinance to the effect of not using cell phones in Evanston while driving. Why can't it be enforced? Look at cars for 2 minutes and you will see dozens of people texting and yapping on their phones while driving. I've seen cars cross into the opposite lane (texting), and have been nearly hit while crossing a street (with the pedestrian crossing signal): a mini van took a left and the driver was looking at his cell phone. So was the one passenger. What on earth? A car or truck has enough weight and momentum to be a lethal weapon. Not paying attention can kill people. Driving while on the cell phone is as bad as driving under the influence of alcohol. "I did not see… the pedestrian, cyclist, the other car…" is not an excuse. If you are driving, pay attention.

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