Chicago, IL – From August 16 through Labor Day, Chicago police will be out in force as part of the annual Illinois “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” crackdown on drunk drivers. The statewide crackdown will include high-visibility alcohol and belt enforcement throughout the city of Chicago.

The effective statewidecrackdown will also be supported by national and state paid advertising, creating a comprehensive campaign to curb drunk driving.

Chicago Police Department officials say its officers will be aggressively looking for drunk drivers during the crackdown and will arrest anyone caught driving drunk. In addition, seat belt law violators will be ticketed.

Between 2009 and 2011, a total of 234 motorists died in traffic crashes in Chicago. More than half of those, 119, were African American, and 53 were Hispanic. Seat belt usage rates among African Americans and Hispanics who died in Chicago traffic crashes were 17.6 percent and 24.5 percent respectively, often involving male drivers ages 18-34. (Data Source FARS 2009-2011.) The Illinois Department of Transportation has initiated a pilot program called Safe Communities for Illinois (SCIL) to try to address this problem and to provide good information to help encourage young drivers to drive sober, use seat belts and stay alert and undistracted while driving.

In an effort to support the “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign, representatives from SCIL program will reach out to young drivers during Labor Day weekend at the following event:

  • African Arts Festival, Washington Park, August 30th – September 2nd from 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

Centralia Gilmore with Lakeview Community Resource Center is partnering with SCIL representatives to help spread safety messages during the African Arts Festival. Lakeview Community is a housing and resource center committed to working in harmony with surrounding communities to empower families to achieve sustainability.

“We want to remind everyone that getting behind the wheel drunk is a terrible idea. Unfortunately, not only does drinking impair your ability to operate a vehicle safely, it also impairs your judgment and good sense about whether you can, or should drive. If you have any doubt about your sobriety, do not get behind the wheel. If you do choose to drive impaired, you will be arrested. No warnings. No excuses,” said Lakeview Executive Director Centralia Gilmore.

Traffic fatalities are the second leading cause of death for African-American and Hispanic males ages 18-34 after street violence. “Driving drunk is simply not worth the risk. So don’t take the chance. ‘Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over,'” added Gilmore.