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Illinois State Police (ISP) District 19 Interim Commander, Lieutenant Cory Ristvedt, would like to remind motorists to drive sober or designate a driver while celebrating over the 4th of July holiday weekend. Alcohol-related crashes continue to account for a large percentage of fatal crashes during Independence Day holiday celebrations. Troopers will be doing their part to keep the roadways safe by watching for and arresting intoxicated and impaired drivers.

The ISP encourages those at celebrations involving alcohol to avoid drunk driving altogether. The following tips will help keep you from becoming a statistic.

* Plan a safe way home before the fun begins.

* Designate a sober driver before the drinking begins.

* If you are impaired, use a taxi, call a sober friend or family member, or use public transportation so you are sure to get home safely.

* If you see a suspected drunk driver on the road, don’t hesitate to call 911.

* If you know someone who is about to drive or ride while impaired, take their keys and help them make other arrangements to safely get to where they are going.

“Current traffic crash fatalities in District 19 are substantially higher than this same time last year,” said Lieutenant Ristvedt. During 2015, District 19 experienced six fatal traffic crashes resulting in seven fatalities; however, in 2016, we have surpassed last year’s totals and have recorded ten fatal traffic crashes, resulting in eleven fatalities. Those violations most contributing to fatal crashes are: DUI, Speeding, Failure to a Wear Seatbelt, and Distracted Driving. “We urge motorists to be responsible and exercise safe driving habits while enjoying this holiday weekend,” he added.