A number of Northwest suburban police departments and the Cook County sheriff's office are conducting extra patrols this weekend targeting drunk drivers and seat belt law violators in conjunction with St. Patricks Day.
Local departments that are participating in the federally funded program include Arlington Heights, Barrington, Elk Grove Village, Palatine, Rolling Meadows and Schaumburg.
"We will be working overtime patrolling the streets of Barrington looking to stop and arrest anyone who is driving drunk," Barrington Police Chief David Dorn said in a news release, adding that the department also will be stepping up seat belt enforcement particularly at night when seat belt usage rates are lowest.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, midnight to 3 a.m. is the deadliest time on Illinois roads. That's also the time when seat belt use is lowest.
"Too often, St. Patrick's Day can be a deadly and dangerous time on our roadways because of drunken driving," Rolling Meadows Deputy Chief Mark Hogan said in a news release. "We are reminding everyone this weekend to Driver Sober or Get Pulled Over and Click It or Ticket. If you plan on drinking alcohol, designate a sober driver before the party begins."
Police also offered these pointers for St. Patrick's Day party hosts:
• You can be held liable and prosecuted if someone you serve is involved in a drunken driving crash.
• Make sure guests designate a sober driver in advance or help arrange ride-sharing with other sober drivers.
• Serve lots of food and include lots of nonalcoholic beverages.
• Keep the phone numbers for local cab companies handy and take the keys away from anyone who is thinking of driving drunk.