"Don't drink and drive" are four words that you've probably heard a million times, yet despite all the warnings, lots of people still do it. And, here in Rockford, they're getting arrested for it more than almost anywhere in the state of Illinois.

The Alliance Against Intoxicated Motorists just released the results of their 26th annual survey on drunk driving arrests in Illinois, and Rockford's 464 DUI arrests in 2015 ties us for most in the state with Carol Stream, where the exact same number of arrests occurred.

Kevin Hoffman has the story at Reboot Illinois:

Nearly 700 police departments from across the state were surveyed in the group’s 2015 DUI arrest survey, which received a response rate of 81 percent.

AAIM, a nonprofit citizens action group, was founded in 1982 by victims of drunken driving with the help of former Gov. Jim Edgar, who at the time was secretary of state and led legislative efforts to crack down on intoxicated motorists by establishing the state’s first citizens task force. The survey has been conducted since 1990 and is funded by a grant from the Illinois Department of Transportation.

“Over the last three decades, progress has been made to help eliminate the devastation caused by impaired driving in Illinois. While frustratingly slow, many lives have been saved,” AAIM Executive Director Rita Kreslin said in a press release. “Focused efforts and cooperation of law enforcement agencies, traffic safety advocates and communities have helped to prevent crashes and save thousands of lives.”

Some of the other note-worthy numbers from AAIM's survey include:

  • Among the Top 5 cities with the largest increase in the number of DUI arrests between 2014 and 2015 were Peoria, 83.9 percent; Carol Stream, 31.8 percent; Rockford, 20.8 percent; Elgin, 18.9 percent; and Cicero, 17.6 percent.
  • The Illinois State Police reported 12 percent more arrests than the 5,784 made in 2014. In 2013, state troopers arrested 9,302 intoxicated drivers.
  • Chicago’s DUI arrest total was nearly the same over the year, with only six fewer arrests compared to 2014.
  • With 464 DUI arrests, Carol Stream’s and Rockford’s police department arrested the most drunk drivers in Illinois, followed by Decatur (405), Springfield (385), Naperville (369) and Peoria (309)
  • Loves Park ranks 16th overall with 198 DUI arrests
  • Belvidere is in the 25th spot with 166 arrests
  • Winnebago County ranks 3rd in the state with 278 arrests, right behind Cook County's 331, and Lake County's 367
  • Boone County ranks 8th with 156 arrests, Ogle County is 15th, with 100 arrests, and Lee County is 18th, with 77 arrests

Area law enforcement will be out in force this weekend, with a strong focus on arresting impaired drivers. You may not care about your life or someone else's life, so maybe knowing that the State of Illinois estimates that the total cost of a first time DUI (including raised insurance rates, temporary loss of income, court costs and other expenses) at $16,000 will get your attention.

Check out the rest of Kevin Hoffman's piece at Reboot Illinois by clicking here.

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