Police Brace For Extra DUI Enforcement During Holiday Weekend

Published 07/04 2014 05:48PM

Updated 07/07 2014 08:39AM

PONTIAC - According to the National Highway Transportation Administration, a motorist dies every 53 minutes from an alcohol-related crash.

A statewide survey found normal made nearly 280 DUI arrests, while Bloomington’s numbers were also up in 2013. That makes this Fourth of July even more critical for law enforcement.

Sergeant Joe Dittmer is starting this Fourth of July making routine roadway checks.

"We're looking for higher speeds,” explained Dittmer. “We're looking for our distracted drivers, texting. We're looking for seat belt usage. We're looking for people to make sure that they're getting to their destination safely."

But by the end of the day, the department's responsibilities will change.

"We know celebrations, typically, they're going to include some alcohol,” said Dittmer.

With 18 traffic fatalities last year during the holiday, six of which were DUI-related, the Illinois State Police is really cracking down statewide this year for all violations.

"It just makes me really sad that someone's fourth of July, someone's holiday was tragically changed for the worse all because of drunk driving, which is something that could easily be prevented,” said Wheaton resident Caroline Dirks.

"I think it's important for them to enforce what we all know is reasonable expectations,” said Normal resident Jim Eaton.

In Bloomington, there will be a bigger police presence all over the city.

"It's really there for everyone's safety, and we'll have officers. DUI enforcement, a top priority. So, just having that extra officers out there in case there are any problems that may arise,” said Sara Mayer, spokesperson for the Bloomington Police Department.

"I've got a family and I don't want my family in harm's way, and I don't want my friends and their families in harm's way. So, I think it's great having that extra law enforcement out there,” said Bloomington resident Liz Bierbaum.

And the goal: that the extra enforcement will pay off with fewer fatalities.

"We're out there, trying to send a message to drink responsibly. And if you have been drinking, don't drive,” said Dittmer.

The Secretary of State's office is reminding drivers to take public transportation or to have a designated driver if they choose to drink this weekend.

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