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Safety checkpoints announced as St. Paddy's Day nears

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The Illinois State Police will conduct roadside safety checks in the Chicago area in anticipation of St. Patrick's Day celebrations beginning on Friday. State and local law enforcement agencies across the state will be out in full force, conducting Roadside Safety Checks ,(RSC) some of which have been shared with the public -- looking for impaired or distracted drivers.

In a press release earlier this week, the Illinois Toll Highway Authority announced that Illinois State Police will set up Roadside Safety Checks (RSC) in the southbound lanes of I-294 near O'Hare Airport from 11 p.m. on Friday, March 14 through 4 a.m. Saturday, March 15. The press release reads in part:

"The ISP has zero tolerance for impaired driving in Illinois," reads the tollway authority's statement. "Officers working this detail will be watchful for drivers who are operating vehicles in an unsafe manner, driving with a suspended or revoked driver’s license, transporting open alcoholic beverages, or driving under the influence (DUI)."

Illinois State Police will team up with dozens of local law enforcement agencies across Illinois. Skokie, Arlington Heights and Downers Grove are a few of the local law enforcement agencies in the Chicago area that have released details on upcoming RSC's.

The Village of Skokie's official website provides a link to the Skokie Police Department's schedule of St. Patrick's Day RSC's, which will be conducted from Thursday March 13 through March 18.

"Several DUI roadside safety checkpoints in conjunction with several saturation patrols will take place in the early morning hours during this upcoming holiday period."

The dates, times, and locations of these checkpoints are as follows:

Thursday, March 13 – 14, 2014, 11:15 p.m. – 3:15 a.m.,
8600 McCormick Blvd, Skokie IL.

Friday March 14 – 15, 2014, 11:15 p.m. – 3:15 a.m.,
5005 Dempster St., Skokie IL.

Monday, March 17 – 18, 2014, 11:15 p.m. – 3:15 a.m.,
5200 Touhy Ave., Skokie IL.

Arlington Heights Police also announced the commencement of specialized traffic enforcement activities relating to the upcoming “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign starting on Friday, March 14, 2014 through St. Patrick’s Day on Monday, March 17, 2014.

Recent traffic studies reveal that alcohol and drug impairment play a role in nearly 40 percent of all fatal motor vehicle crashes in Illinois. Roadside Safety Check's are designed to keep Illinois roads safe by taking dangerous DUI offenders off the road.

Federal grants pay for mandatory training of local police forces in DUI enforcement techniques and standard field sobriety tests.

Local law enforcement agencies must qualify for Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) funding by participating in RSC's on major holidays, including St. Patrick's Day, to qualify for the Sustained Traffic Enforcement Program (STEP) grant.

Failure to maintain operation of the project at the level agreed upon in the approved Highway Safety Project Agreement may result in the termination of program funding.

“Officers will be permitted, and encouraged, to issue multiple citations to drivers who have committed several violations; such as, DUI, other alcohol-related offenses, and failure to wear seat belt.”

Local law enforcement agencies are reimbursed for expenditures for personal services and operation of automotive equipment by hire-back officers conducting overtime enforcement.

In the city of Chicago and other municipalities within Cook County, traffic safety campaigns are routinely funded via U.S. Department of Homeland Security grants, including funds from annual Urban Areas Security Initiatives created after 9/11.

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