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Illinois cops to work overtime cracking down on New Year’s drunk drivers

<p>Sun-Times Media file photo</p>

Sun-Times Media file photo

Police across the state will be putting in extra hours over the New Year’s holiday to crack down on drunk drivers and unbuckled seatbelts.

Illinois State Police and more than 250 other law enforcement agencies will participate in the statewide effort, which will ramp up on New Year’s Eve and continue into the first week of 2014, according to a press release issued by the Illinois Department of Transportation.

IDOT will provide federal funding to help bankroll hundreds of law enforcement overtime hours for additional roadside safety checks, seat belt enforcement zones and other patrols across the state, according to the release.

The increased enforcement is an attempt to prevent crashes over what IDOT calls one of the most dangerous times of the year on Illinois roads. During last year’s New Year’s holiday, seven people were killed and 664 people were injured in crashes across the state, IDOT said. Three of the fatal crashes involved at least one drunk driver, IDOT said.

Between 2008 and 2010, 38 people were killed and 2,868 people were injured in crashes over the New Year’s holiday, IDOT said. Fifteen of those fatalities involved drunk drivers.

IDOT and law enforcement officials are advising revelers who plan on drinking during their celebrations to designate a sober driver, call a cab or use public transit to get home safely.

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