Police begin St. Patrick’s weekend enforcement effort

<p>Naperville police cruiser | Jeff Cagle/For Sun-Times Media  </p>

Naperville police cruiser | Jeff Cagle/For Sun-Times Media  

Naperville police officers will be conducting special patrols this St. Patrick’s Day holiday weekend, cracking down on drunken drivers and travelers not wearing their seat belts.

“We are reminding everyone this weekend to Driver Sober or Get Pulled Over and Click It or Ticket,” said Sgt. Al Trotsky, who oversees the department’s traffic unit.

“If you plan on drinking alcohol, designate a sober driver before the party begins,” Trotsky said in a release. “Be responsible or risk being arrested for DUI.”

The “zero tolerance” enforcement effort began Thursday and will last through Monday, St. Patrick’s Day, Trotsky said. Police “will be increasing patrols to catch and arrest anyone who is driving drunk,” he said.

Police also will be stepping up seat belt enforcement, particularly at night, when Trotsky said belt usage rates are lowest.

Trotsky said “designating a sober driver and not letting friends drive drunk are just two simple steps to help avoid a tragic crash or an arrest for drunk driving.”

He reminded those who intend to host St. Patrick’s Day parties they can be held liable and prosecuted if a guest becomes involved in a drunken-driving traffic crash. Hosts need to “make sure all of your guests designate a sober driver in advance, or help arrange ride-sharing with other sober drivers,” he said.

Guests, too, need to take responsibility for themselves and each other, Trotsky said. They need to guard against drinking to excess, which can be reduced by eating before and during a party and drinking non-alcoholic beverages, he said.

Hosts and guests alike should have telephone numbers for local cab companies handy, and take the keys away from anyone who is thinking of driving drunk.

“And always buckle up,” Trotsky said. “It is still your best defense against a drunk driver.”

The enforcement effort is financed with federal traffic safety funds provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and administered through the Illinois Department of Transportation’s Division of Traffic Safety.