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Grundy County reminds residents to drive safe over holiday weekend

Published: Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

Law enforcement agencies in Grundy County are reminding residents to drive safely during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.

The Grundy County Sheriff’s Office is joining the Illinois Department of Transportation, the Illinois State Police and local law enforcement agencies to strongly enforce seat belt and impaired driving laws, according to a news release from sheriff’s office.

“Whether you’re going across town or across the state this Thanksgiving, please makesure everyone in the car is wearing their seat belt,” Grundy County Sheriff Kevin Callahan said in the news release. “Our officers are prepared to ticket anyone who is not wearing a seat belt and arrest those choosing to drive impaired.”

The Minooka Police Department is one of the local agencies taking part in the Click it or Ticket and Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaigns.

“Our goal is to save more lives, so deputies will be out enforcing seat belt laws aroundthe clock,” Minooka police Chief Justin Meyer said in a news release from his department.

“Additional enforcement will take place late at night when belt use is at its lowest and impaired driving is the biggest problem.”

Grundy County State’s Attorney Jason Helland said in a separate news release that his office is working with local law enforcement to conduct a “no refusal” Thanksgiving weekend. Starting today through Monday, local law enforcement will conduct “no refusal” stops on suspected drunken drivers throughout Grundy County and police may seek search warrants from a judge to require any motorist suspected of DUI to submit to a chemical test.

Those who refuse to comply with the search warrant will be charged with obstructing justice, a Class 4 felony punishable up to 3 years in prison, according to the news release.

Thanksgiving is the worst holiday of the year for drunken driving, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. There are an average of 567 deaths each year during the Thanksgiving holiday, as compared to average of 401 on New Year’s Day, according to Helland’s news release.

With Black Friday sales beginning on Thanksgiving, many families are on the road with drunken drivers, according to Helland’s news release. He encourages those who drink during this weekend to have a designated driver.

“I want the public to be armed with the facts so they know to be on the lookout for impaired drivers,” Helland said in the news release.

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