Illinois ranks low in DUI arrest rates, new report shows

police lights
In Illinois, a first-time DUI offender can face up to a year of jail and fines of up to $2,500. If a person was harmed, the offense becomes a felony. (Facebook/Illinois Department of Transportation)

By Illinois Radio Network

SPRINGFIELD – Illinois ranks low in arrest rates for driving under the influence, according to a recent report.

The state is only behind Delaware, placing 49th in a recent report from U.S. Drug Test Centers, a drug testing company, in terms of the number of DUI arrests per 100,000 people. The report was based on figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Department of Transportation and FBI crime statistics.

The report found that not only has the state reached almost the bottom in terms of DUI arrests, but it has seen both short-term declines – over 4 years, DUI arrests are down more than 20 percent – and long-term decreases in DUI arrests. DUI arrests declined more than 30 percent over the past 10 years.

Sgt. Delila Garcia, of the Illinois State Police, attributed the declines to a two-pronged approach used not only by the state police, but also by the numerous other law enforcement agencies in the state.

“We do we do the two-tier system of education and enforcement,” Garcia said.

Education efforts have included reaching out to residents of every age group and introducing interactive programs utilizing driving simulators and driving courses, Garcia said.

In addition, law enforcement agencies use social media to get the word out.

ISP Trooper Tracy Illard recently won a national award from the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators for “Best Use of Social Media.”

Illinois State Police troopers take enforcement seriously.

“We have to enforce the law. and hopefully strictly enforcing these traffic safety laws – although it’s a reactionary approach – we take that in order to prevent future fatalities and to change behaviors,” Garcia said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, 130 million American adults are involved in a DUI incident every year. And every day, 30 people affected by those incidents die.

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