Drivers beware: Plenty of police on area roads for St. Pat’s weekend

Police are promising zero tolerance for drunk driving in general, and especially over the St. Patrick’s Day weekend.

Iowa and Illinois police agencies planned special traffic enforcement patrols over St. Patrick’s Day weekend, targeted at drunk drivers and enforcing seat belt laws.

They say seat belt usage rates tend to be lowest at night, and they’ll step up that enforcement even more at that time.

About 200 state, county and local law enforcement agencies plan to step up traffic enforcement across Illinois for the holiday weekend.

“Today we are giving fair warning to anyone planning to be on the road during St. Patrick’s Day that law enforcement officers will be on patrol all over Illinois,” said Illinois Transportation Secretary Ann Schneider.

Iowa plans similar extra enforcement statewide, with special attention paid to motorists who are speeding, aren’t buckled up or are operating while intoxicated.  Police reported making more than 350 OWI arrests, and issuing nearly 17,000 traffic citations, in Iowa over the St. Patrick’s Day holiday weekend in 2013.

“You can be held liable and prosecuted if someone you serve is involved in a drunk driving crash,” said Moline Police Sgt. Tim DeVrieze.  He suggests party hosts serve food and plenty of non-alcoholic beverages, and help guests arrange a ride with a sober driver.

“Keep the phone numbers for local cab companies handy and take the keys away from anyone who is thinking of driving drunk,” DeVrieze said.

That doesn’t relieve you of responsibility if you get drunk at a bar, party or other event.

“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,” DeVrieze said.

“We will be working overtime to catch and arrest anyone who is driving drunk,” said Rock Island County Sheriff Jeff Boyd.

The LOOP is offering service for St. Patrick’s Day partiers – get details, click here.

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