Oak Park Police Chief Rick Tanksley wants those considering driving drunk in the village to literally think twice. Police here and in jurisdictions around the state will have an unyielding attitude with drunk drivers over the remainder of the holiday season.

“There is no excuse for impaired driving that will satisfy an Oak Park police officer,” he said. “If you drive at night, you’re in our site.”

Since Dec. 18, the Oak Park police department has been participating in the statewide “You Drink & Drive. You Lose” awareness and enforcement program, which will also target drivers not using seat belts.

Local police are calling impaired driving “a deadly crime” that remains prevalent in America, particularly among young males age 21 to 34. “Impaired driving is not an accident -it is careless disregard for human life,” reads one talking point in the campaign. 

“For the last four years, from 2005-2008, 67 percent of the motor vehicle fatalities occurring from midnight to 3 a.m. involved an impaired driver,” said Tanksley.

According to Illinois Department of Transportation and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data, most fatal crashes occur in Illinois at a time when the least vehicles are on the road. The period from midnight to 3 a.m. is the worst period for deadly traffic accidents in Illinois, followed closely by the 9 p.m. to midnight time period.

-Bill Dwyer

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