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IDOT says 67% are DUI

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government

IDOT says 67% are DUI

Gus Philpott
Woodstock Advocate
December 28, 2009

According to a letter to the editor in this morning's Northwest Herald, midnight-to-3:00AM is the most dangerous time to be on Illinois roads. An IDOT regional occupant protection coordinator, Robert Brasky, wrote that 67% of the fatalities occurring during those hours involved 1) an impaired driver and 2) low use of seatbelts.

Law enforcement agencies all over the County, including Woodstock and the McHenry County Sheriff's Department, pester drivers on mornings and afternoons during daylight hours when they conduct seatbelt checks. Instead of focusing on the most important four of the Fatal Five violations, they pick the "low-hanging fruit." Recently five Woodstock police officers were detailed on Route 47 just north of McConnell Road during the day, where two officers in the road watched passing vehicles and the second directed violators into a parking area for ticketing.

Such a detail is not the "fault" of the officers who were assigned, so don't blame them. They are doing what they are told to do, not that they are necessarily against it. Some of them might even be asking why they aren't working such a detail when they are most likely to catch violators.

Instead of arresting drivers traveling 25-35MPH in a congested area, why not set up a similar checkpoint at 2:00AM? Just imagine how many drunk drivers they'd nab who aren't wearing seatbelts. Would the bar owners (and lawyers for the drivers who were arrested) be screaming bloody murder?

Of course, each DUI arrest might take an officer off the road for 2-3 hours, unless departments staffed up to handle the rush. Streamline the processing, coordinate with other departments including the sheriff's department and the Illinois State Police, and get serious about getting drunks off the roads.

What the heck? Just set up the checkpoint down the road from bars where serious drinking takes place. We have a few of those places right here in Woodstock. And just outside Woodstock City Limits, too.

By the way, treat all violators the same. When your eyes are bloodshot, your speech is slurred and there is a strong odor of alcohol on your breath, away you go - cuffed and in the back seat of the patrol car. No matter your name or for whom you work.

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