This Labor Day, the Joliet Police Department Reminds Motorists to Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over

The end of summer is traditionally marked by the Labor Day holiday, often celebrated through picnics, pool parties and other gatherings. Sadly, the Labor Day holiday also can be one of the deadliest because of motor vehicle crashes related to drunk and drug-impaired drivers.

Once again, the Joliet Police Department is joining the Illinois Department of Transportation to stop drunk and drug-impaired drivers and help save lives. The high-visibility enforcement campaign, “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over,” runs from Aug. 21 through the early morning hours of Sept. 5. During this period, law enforcement across the state will show zero tolerance for impaired driving. Officers also will be looking for seat-belt law violators. This comprehensive effort aims to reduce impaired driving and help make zero fatalities a reality on Illinois roads.

National statistics show a frightening trend in drunk driving. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 10,265 people were killed in drunk-driving crashes in 2015, an increase from 9,967 people killed in 2014. This is why the Joliet Police Department is working with IDOT to remind drivers that drunk driving is not only illegal, it is a matter of life and death.

“Driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs is a massive problem in Illinois with more than 300 people dying annually,” said Chief Brian Benton “Alcohol- or drug-impaired driving is not acceptable behavior. It is essential to plan a sober ride home before you go out. We make zero exceptions for impaired driving. There are just no excuses.”

The Joliet Police Department recommends the following safe alternatives to drinking and driving:

  • If you will be drinking, designate a sober driver before you go out.
  • Plan to use public transportation, call a cab or use a ride-sharing service to get home safely.
  • If you see a drunk driver on the road, contact 911!
  • Have a friend who is about to drink and drive? Take the keys away and make arrangements to get your friend home safely.

The 2017 Labor Day “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign is funded by federal highway safety funds from NHTSA and managed through IDOT.

Joliet Police to Host National Night Out Event

The Joliet Police Department will be hosting its annual National Night Out against crime. This event is free and open to the public. Please join members of the Joliet Police Department on Tuesday, August 1st from 5:30 pm to 8:30 pm at the Joliet Police Department’s West Substation located at 7196 Caton Farm Road, Joliet, Illinois.

National Night Out is a year-long community building campaign designed to: (1) heighten crime prevention awareness; (2) generate support for, and participation in, local anti-crime programs; (3) strengthen neighborhood spirit and police-community partnerships; and (4) send a message to criminals to let them know that our neighborhoods are organized and committed to keeping their neighborhood safe.

Joliet Police Chief Brian Benton states, “It is the mission of the Joliet Police Department to work with the community for a safe city, and the National Night Out Against Crime event is a valuable tool to help us accomplish that mission.”

This annual event brings together citizens, local officials, and businesses, along with law enforcement to increase anti-crime awareness. On this night, all residents are encouraged to turn on their porch lights as a symbol of solidarity against crime.

This year the Joliet Police Department would like to invite the public to an open house at its West substation. A variety of police vehicles will be on display. Officers will be present with crime prevention tips and information on establishing or participating in Neighborhood Watch programs. Free child ID cards will be offered for children ages 2-12.

Joliet Police Conduct Impaired Driving Enforcement During the Fourth of July Holiday

June 26th through July 9th

The Joliet Police Department, in partnership with the Illinois Department of Transportation, will participate in a statewide effort to reduce impaired drivers on our streets. Special enforcement efforts will include a roadside safety checkpoint as well as citywide traffic saturation patrols and seatbelt zones.

“Summer is here, and so is the summer travel season. Often this means more vehicles traveling on our roads and frequently, more traffic crashes. Independence Day weekend can be one of the more dangerous travel times of the year” said Chief Brian Benton. “Too many people die each year due to those who choose to get behind the wheel after drinking alcohol, so our officers will be out in full force this Independence Day showing zero tolerance for drunk drivers and seat belt law violators.”

Officers assigned to these details will be checking for impaired drivers, occupant/child restraint violations, cell phone violations, as well as other violations of the Illinois Vehicle Code.

This enforcement campaign is possible through a grant from the Illinois Department of Transportation and will help to increase enforcement efforts during the Independence Holiday.

High Heat Index Possible This Weekend – Cooling Centers Available for Joliet Residents

The City of Joliet reminds residents to take precautions to ensure their health, safety, and well-being during days of high heat and humidity. The forecast for this weekend calls for high temperatures possibly reaching into the 90’s.

Residents can seek shelter at the following locations:

  • Louis Joliet Mall
  • Illinois Department of Unemployment Services located at 45 East Webster
  • Illinois Rehabilitation Services Center located at 1617 West Jefferson
  • Other Public Places

Please remember to check on the elderly, those with medical conditions, and those with special needs during periods of extreme hot weather.

These hot and humid conditions may lead to an increased risk of heat-related stress and illness, particularly for the very young, the elderly, and those participating in strenuous outdoor activities.

CAR INTERIORS CAN REACH LETHAL TEMPERATURES IN A MATTER OF MINUTES. NEVER LEAVE CHILDREN OR PETS UNATTENDED IN A VEHICLE. BEAT THE HEAT, CHECK THE BACK SEAT!

Special Keeping Cool Tip For Seniors: During heat emergencies, seniors are urged to contact their local area agencies on aging or the Illinois Department on Aging Senior Help Line at (800) 252-8966 for assistance with locating senior centers, adult day service sites, and other buildings that serve as cooling centers.

It is against the law to open a fire hydrant. An open hydrant hinders the Fire Department’s ability to fight fires, reduces water pressure in your home, and may cause basement flooding.

Anyone needing assistance during a period of extreme heat should call 9-1-1.

Joliet Police To Conduct Seatbelt Safety Zones

Joliet Police Chief Brian Benton announced today that the Joliet Police Department, in partnership with the Illinois Department of Transportation, will participate in a statewide effort to increase seatbelt usage and reduce the number of impaired drivers over the Memorial Day holiday.

From May 15 through May 30, 2017, special enforcement efforts will include saturation patrols, seatbelt enforcement zones, and a roadside safety checkpoint throughout the City. Officers assigned to these details will be checking for occupant and child restraint violations, cell phone usage violations, and other violations of the Illinois Vehicle Code.

According to Chief Benton, “Our primary goal will be to increase compliance with existing traffic laws to ensure safer roadways throughout the City of Joliet.”

Drivers and passengers are encouraged to always wear a seatbelt, to never use an electronic communication device while driving, and never drink and drive.

These campaigns are possible through traffic safety enforcement grants from the Illinois Department of Transportation.

Distracted Driving Is Dangerous Driving

When we’re driving, distractions are a constant temptation. Other passengers in the car, billboard signs flashing the latest ads, and vehicle features making our journey more comfortable are just a few examples of distractions that can take our attention off the road.

We’re also busier than ever. Our days are spent trying to get more accomplished in less time. It’s estimated that people spend an average of one hour and 15 minutes in their vehicles every day. This means that longer commutes, an increase in heavy traffic, and demanding home and work schedules make in-vehicle technologies more alluring because they let us multi-task and get more done. It also means that other activities like talking with family and friends or eating dinner may take place while driving. These distractions, often deadly, stop us from giving our full attention to the most important thing we are doing while going from Point A to Point B – getting there!

It’s all in your head… and hands… and eyes…

While driving, your mind, hands, and eyes are all working together to get to your destination. Your mind decides where you’re going, your hands navigate the steering wheel, and your eyes ensure your car and pathway are safe. When any one of these is busy with other diversions, the risk of crashing increases.

Teens are especially at risk

Ask any teenager what tops their list of things that matter most and many will claim it’s their friends. Staying “in the know” within their social network and being accepted ranks high among teenagers. But too often this desire to be with friends leads to dangerous habits when driving.

Nearly nine in 10 teenage drivers admit they have engaged in distracted driving behaviors such as texting or talking on a cell phone. But research also tells us that teens already know it’s dangerous. It’s important for teens to start listening to what they know is right and to stay fully focused on driving!

Can I just talk hands-free?

Many people think talking on a hands-free cell phone while driving is safer than having that same conversation on a handheld device. Even if you drive with both hands on the wheel while talking on the phone, you’re still putting yourself and others in danger. When you talk on the phone, your mind is engaged in that conversation. It’s estimated that using a cell phone while driving (whether handheld or hands-free) raises the chance of crashing by four times.

The Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police, Partnering with AAA, is Coordinating the First Ever Illinois Distracted Driving Awareness Week with State and Local Agencies

In support of National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police (ILACP) asked the Governor of the State of Illinois to declare April 24th through 28th  as Illinois Distracted Driving Awareness Week in an effort to bring attention to the dangers and consequences associated with driving distracted.  Governor Rauner issued the proclamation and both houses passed resolutions identifying April 24th through the 28th as Illinois Distracted Driving Awareness Week.

The ILACP, in partnership with AAA, and supported by the Illinois State Police, SafetyServe.com, the National Safety Council, the Illinois Insurance Association, almost 300 law enforcement/fire agencies and supporters from the private sector throughout Illinois, will work together during this week to educate motorists on all aspects of distracted driving.  This campaign will also include the enforcement of applicable State distracted driving laws.  According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA):

3,477 people were killed and an estimated 391,000 injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers in 2015. That is a 9-percent increase in fatalities as compared to the previous year.

10 percent of fatal crashes, 15 percent of injury crashes, and 14 percent of all police reported motor vehicle crashes in 2015 were reported as distraction affected crashes.

Texting while driving has become an especially problematic trend among millennials. Young drivers, 16 to 24 years old, have been observed using handheld electronic devices while driving at higher rates than older drivers since 2007.

It’s time to drop the double standard on distracted driving – the dangers are real.  According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety:

In analyzing 2009-2012 data, that even while more than 8 in 10 drivers believed it completely unacceptable for a motorist to text or e-mail behind the wheel, more than a third of those same respondents admitted to reading text messages while driving.

Just as disturbing, even as fatalities go up, fewer drivers seem concerned about texting while driving. According to Foundation’s 2015 Traffic Safety Culture Index, significantly fewer motorists (77%) believed texting while driving is a problem, down from 96 percent in 2013, a 19-point drop in just two years.

Texting while driving is more than just personally risky. When you text and drive, you become a danger to everyone around you.

SafetyServe.com is offering a short Distracted Driving Online Course, at no cost, during Illinois Distracted Driving Awareness Week to those who visit the ILACP Traffic Safety Website, www.iddaw.org.

These partnerships have been formed to help further a traffic safety culture in Illinois and to reduce traffic fatalities and injuries resulting from distracted driving.  Please help the ILACP, AAA, and the Joliet Police Department to keep Illinois’ roadways safe and Illinois strong.

Joliet Police Cracking Down on Drunk Drivers for Holidays

The Joliet Police Department will participate in a national effort during this holiday season designed to raise awareness of the dangers of drinking and driving. Special enforcement efforts will include high visibility enforcement patrols, a roadside safety checkpoint, and seat belt enforcement zones.

Approximately one-third of all traffic crash fatalities in the United States involve drunk drivers (with blood alcohol concentrations [BACs] of .08 or higher), according to the JPD. In 2014, there were 9,967 people killed in these preventable crashes. In fact, on average, over 10,000 people have died each year (2010 to 2014) in drunk-driving crashes, police said.

In 2014, approximately 1 in 5 children (ages 14 and younger) who were killed in traffic crashes were passengers in drunk-driving crashes. Fifty-six percent of the time it was the child’s own driver who was drunk.

The Joliet Police Department urges everyone to celebrate the holidays in a safe, responsible manner. Police Chief Brian Benton reminds all motorists, “Never drink and drive … remember to buckle your seatbelt … slow down … and avoid distractions by not talking or texting while driving.”

Police will be deployed from Dec. 23, 2016, through Jan. 1, 2017, at various locations throughout the city. Assigned officers will enforce all applicable laws with an emphasis on impaired driving violations and seatbelt violations.

Warming Centers Available to Help Joliet Residents Deal with Cold Weather

The City of Joliet reminds residents to take precautions to ensure their health, safety, and well-being during days of extreme temperatures.

Residents can seek shelter at the following locations:

  • Louis Joliet Shopping Mall-Monday to Saturday 10:00 AM to 9:00 PM and Sunday 11:00 AM to 6:00 PM
  • Daybreak 611 E. Cass Street – overnight warm shelter will be open
  • Morningstar Mission 350 E. Washington Street – overnight warm shelter will be open

Please remember to check on the elderly, those with medical conditions, and those with special needs during periods of extreme cold weather.

During Winter Storms and Extreme Cold:

When At Home:

  • Stay indoors in a heated room as much as possible.
  • Hang blankets over windows at night, but let the sun shine in during the day. Cover cracks around doors with rugs, newspapers, towels or other such material.
  • When using alternative heat from a fireplace, wood stove, space heater, etc., use safeguards and ensure proper ventilation to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • If your water pipes freeze:
    • Shut off water at the main source. This can minimize the damage to your home.
    • Call a plumber and contact your insurance agent.
    • Never try to thaw a frozen pipe with an open flame or torch.
    • Always be careful of the potential for electric shock in and around standing water.

Outside:

  • Avoid overexertion, such as shoveling heavy snow, pushing a car or walking in deep snow. The strain from the cold and the hard labor of snow shoveling could cause a heart attack at any age – a major cause of death in the winter. Don’t ignore chest pain or tightness in your chest.
  • If you become stranded outdoors:
    • Seek shelter to stay dry.
    • Cover all exposed parts of the body.
    • Do not eat snow as it will lower your body temperature. Melt it first.
  • Watch for signs of frostbite and hypothermia.
  • Frostbite is a severe reaction to cold exposure of the skin that can permanently damage fingers, toes, the nose and ear lobes. Symptoms are numbness and a white or pale appearance to the skin. When symptoms are apparent, seek medical help immediately. If medical help is not immediately available, slowly warm the affected areas.
  • Hypothermia, or low body temperature, is a condition brought on when the body temperature drops to less than 95 degrees F, which can be life-threatening!
  • Symptoms include:
    • Slow or slurred speech
    • Incoherence
    • Memory loss
    • Disorientation
    • Uncontrollable shivering
    • Drowsiness
    • Repeated stumbling
    • Apparent exhaustion.
  • If these symptoms are detected, take the person’s temperature. If below 95 degrees F, immediately seek medical attention. If medical help is not available, begin warming the person slowly. Always warm the body core first. Do NOT warm the arms and legs first – this can force the cold blood toward the heart and can lead to heart failure. Get the person into dry clothing and wrap them in a warm blanket covering the head and neck. Do not give the victim alcohol, drugs, coffee or any hot beverage. Warm broth is better.

Foil Package Theft

Package theft is a crime of opportunity. Some passers-by, seeing an unattended box from Amazon, CDW, or Staples.com, just can’t resist the lure of easy loot. Other thefts happen when organized theft rings follow delivery trucks around town, scooping up the boxes just as quickly as the delivery person can put them down.

Use these tips to prevent porch package theft:

Require a signature. Most couriers provide the option of requiring a signature for delivery. If you select this option and nobody is home to accept the delivery, the delivery person will generally leave a note indicating how you can pick up your package. It might delay getting your goods, but at least you’ll get them!

Track your deliveries. Most couriers have a tool on their website (or on their app) that allows you to predict with some accuracy when the package will be delivered. Consider arranging to be at home when you’re expecting a particularly valuable piece of merchandise.

Sign up for delivery notifications. Some couriers and merchants are able to send you a text alert the moment your package is delivered. These notifications make it very easy to get your package before a thief does.

Pick it up quickly. The longer a box sits on your front porch, the greater the likelihood that thieves will swipe it. Bring packages inside as soon as possible to deny them the chance to run off with your stuff.

Get your neighbors involved. If you don’t already know your neighbors, now’s the time to do so. Exchange phone numbers and offer to pick up their packages for them, and see if they’re willing to do the same for you.

Consider an alternate address. If receiving deliveries at work is an option, consider going that route so you know someone will be around to sign for them.

Install a camera (even a fake one). Modern, high-definition security systems are remarkably inexpensive, not to mention do-it-yourself friendly. Even a fake camera with a flashing light is better than nothing.

These measures are especially important for merchandise that you need immediately and won’t have time to replace if stolen.

The good news is if a courier leaves a package on your porch without a signature, the courier is generally responsible for replacing it. Every online retailer also has a claims process for packages ordered and paid for but not received. If all else fails, your credit card company would likely eat the charge for a package that was never delivered to you.