Halloween is a great time to dress up and have a fun time. But as you make plans to celebrate throughout the Chicago area, keep in mind that law enforcement will be on stepped up patrols for impaired driving. Drunk driving charges are not the way to end a fun evening.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that 1 out of 5 Americans admit to driving after drinking alcohol. In 2009, the most recent year for which statistics are available, 48 percent of highway fatalities across the nation on Halloween night involved a driver or motorcycle rider with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 or higher. In Illinois, if you are caught behind the wheel with a BAC of 0.08 or greater, you can be charged with Driving Under the Influence (DUI).
With the number of impaired drivers on the roads Halloween night increasing, police, state and highway patrols are increasing DUI enforcement efforts as well. As part of its Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving campaign, the NHTSA warns that you do not have to feel drunk to be too impaired to drive. The agency advised that if you feel "buzzed" you should not get behind the wheel.
Consequences for Driving Impaired in Illinois
Drivers charged with DUI in Dupage County may face the loss of their driver's license even before being convicted of a DUI. Illinois is an implied consent state, meaning that just by having a driver's license you are consenting to a BAC test upon the request of law enforcement. If you refuse a breath test, the mandatory license suspension period is even longer.
If convicted of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you may face large fines, court costs, possible jail time, loss of your driver's license for a longer period and higher insurance premiums. Being charged with, and worse, being convicted of, an Illinois DUI is an expensive crime.
Tips to Stay Safe This Halloween and Throughout the Year
The simplest way to avoid a drunk-driving charge and any potential consequences is to not drink and drive. Plan a safe way to get home before going out to celebrate Halloween. Public transportation - a bus, the train - is an effective way to safely get home at the end of the night. Designate a friend as the sober driver in advance. If you are impaired and have not made advance arrangements, you can always call a taxi to get you home. Paying for a cab after a night out may be one of the best investments you can make in your future.
Source: NHTSA Halloween Impaired Driving Prevention Initiative