File Photo – Illinois State Police | Photo via Chicago Police Department

Illinois State Police are urging motorists to drive sober or get pulled over on New Year’s amid an increasingly high number of fatal crashes in Illinois in recent years.

The Illinois Department of Transportation, Illinois State Police and local law enforcement agencies issued a joint statement reminding motorists to drive safely.

The annual “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign to keep alcohol and drug-impaired drivers off Illinois roads will run through Monday.

In addition to impaired driving and seat belt offenders, law enforcement will also “show zero tolerance” for speeding, distracted driving and other traffic violations.

“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. Help us spread the message that driving impaired not only is illegal, but also can have fatal consequences,” Watters said.

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Data from IDOT’s Bureau of Data Collection shows the number of motor vehicle deaths involving at least one driver with a blood alcohol content of 0.08 or higher has increased.

In 2021, a total of 275 people died in alcohol-impaired crashes in Illinois, an increase of 50 deaths from 2020.

1,334 people in 2021 lost their lives in crashes, which was the highest total since 2005, state officials said.

According to provisional data, 1,182 fatalities have occurred in 2022 as of December 14.

“The holidays are a time for friends and families, not funerals,” ISP Director Brendan F. Kelly said.

“Driving while impaired, either by alcohol or drugs, is not only dangerous, it can be deadly. 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,” Kelly said.

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The “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” and “Click it or Ticket” campaigns are administered by IDOT with federal traffic safety funds.