DANVILLE — Danville police will be conducting special patrols this St. Patrick's Day weekend to crack down on drunken drivers and unbuckled motorists.
"We are reminding everyone this weekend we will be enforcing the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over and Click It or Ticket programs," Danville Public Safety Director Larry Thomason said. "If you plan on drinking alcohol, designate a sober driver before the party begins. Be responsible or risk a DUI."
Overtime roadside safety checks and roving patrols will be conducted through Sunday to catch and arrest drunken drivers.
"Too often, St. Patrick's Day can be a deadly and dangerous time on our roadways because of drunk driving," said Commander Jane McFadden, the police department's project director.
In addition to looking for drunken drivers, police will be stepping up seat belt enforcement particularly at night when seat belt usage rates are lower.
"Always designating a sober driver and not letting friends drive drunk are just two simple steps to help avoid a tragic crash or an arrest for drunk driving," Thomason said.
Thomason offered these tips for people who are hosting a St. Patrick's Day party:
— Remember that you can be held liable and prosecuted if someone you serve is involved in a drunken driving crash.
— Make sure all of your guests designate a sober driver in advance or help arrange ride-sharing with other sober drivers.
— Serve lots of food and include lots of non-alcoholic beverages at the party.
— And keep the phone numbers for local cab companies handy and take the keys away from anyone who is thinking of driving drunk.
If you are attending a St. Patrick's Day party:
— Designate a sober driver before the party begins and give that person your car keys.
— If you do not have a designated driver, ask a sober friend for a ride home, call a cab, sober friend or family member to pick you up or just stay where you are and sleep it off until you are sober.
— Never let a friend leave your sight if you think they are about to drive while drunk.
— Always buckle up. It is still your best defense against a drunken driver.
"Driving drunk is a deadly decision and it is against the law. We will show zero tolerance," Thomason said. "So remember, designate a sober driver before the party begins and always buckle up."
The St. Patrick's Day Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over Crackdown is funded by federal traffic safety funds from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and administered through the Illinois Department of Transportation's Division of Traffic Safety.