In Illinois, report a drunk driver, get $100 this holiday season

December 23, 2011

(WBEZ/file)
Holiday celebrations can turn dangerous when intoxicated drivers take to the road.

Hundreds of additional police will be conducting safety checks for impaired driving and seatbelt violations during the holiday weekends.

Also watching out for drunk drivers are citizens with an incentive. People who report drunk drivers in Illinois during the holiday weekends could get $100. The program called "drunkbusters" is run by the Alliance Against Intoxicated Motorists. Rita Kreslin is the organization's deputy director.

"When a citizen sees somebody in a car that seems to be driving erratic or seems to be impaired, we encourage them to dial 911 and call in the car to the police," Kreslin said.

If the phone call results in a drunken driving arrest, tipsters will receive $100. Kreslin also said anyone reporting drunk drivers should follow up with police the next day to check if their call indeed resulted in a DUI arrest. She said police will then file paperwork to get the payment process started.

Kreslin said the drunkbusters program resulted in 340 DUI arrests last year, paying out $34,000 to tipsters.

A new report shows drunk driving fatalities are on the decline in Illinois. Kreslin said she imagines programs including drunkbusters has helped raise awareness and decrease incidents.

The Illinois Department of Transportation reported in 2010 close to 300 people died in crashes involving a drunk driver - that's down from nearly 450 deaths in 2006.

Guy Tridgell is an IDOT spokesman. He agreed that a number of campaigns around the state have increased drunk driving awareness. And he said during the upcoming holiday weekends, the roads will continue to be watched closely.

"If you choose to take the risk to drink and drive, chances are you will be stopped and you will be arrested," Tridgell said.

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