—By Lorraine Swanson
The Cook County Sheriff’s Police will step up seat belt enforcement efforts Jan. 3–4.
The seat belt patrol—in addition to ramped up DUI patrol conducted Dec. 28—is part of an overall enforcement effort taking place over the next two weekends focusing on DUI violators and seat belt violators, Sheriff Tom Dart announced.
Illinois laws allow “sobriety checkpoints” which may involve roadblocks or other locations where law enforcement officers are stationed to check drivers for signs of intoxication or impairment.
If approached by a police officer at a DUI or seat belt checkpoint,the drivers will be asked to roll down their windows. Officers will ask to see the driver’s license, registration and proof of insurance. Drivers may also be asked where they are coming from and or where you are heading now.
Should police officers suspect drivers of driving under the influence, they will look for other signs of impairment, such as slurred speech, bloodshot eyes, the smell of alcohol and lack of coordination.
Drivers may be asked to step out of the car and perform field sobriety tests. Such tests may include reciting the alphabet, balancing, eye tracking, and all the other tests we read about in the police blotter.
If a driver fails the DUI test, he or she will be arrested and taken to the nearest police station where additional blood, breath or urine tests may be administered.
Illinois conducts several hundred sobriety checkpoints annually, which have upheld against federal constitution challenges, the Governors Highway Safety Association says.
Recent traffic enforcement patrols netted arrests for driving on suspended/revoked license, possession of cocaine, driving under the influence and seat belt citations.