State Troopers riding in Semis in order to catch you texting while driving

From Fox 2 St. Louis:

CHICAGO — You wouldn’t expect to see state police climb into big rigs as they head out on patrol, but the giant trucks are their latest tool in the fight against distracted driving.

The “Trooper in a Truck” program, an initiative between the Illinois State Police and the Illinois Trucking Association, aims to make the roads safer for vehicles of all sizes.

“As we’ve seen in the last 10 years, distracted driving in my opinion has overtaken alcohol,” Master Sgt. Bryan Falat tells WGN.

From their higher vantage point, troopers are able to spot distracted drivers and radio the offending vehicle’s information to waiting patrol cars. They then pull them over and issue a ticket.

More than 20 citations were issued Wednesday alone for cell phone violations, improper lane changes, seat belt faux pas and those following too closely. Troopers say this isn’t about money and tickets, it’s about education and safety. And maybe drivers will follow the rules not knowing who is in that truck driving next to them…

In the year the program has been rolling, troopers have used semi trucks to patrol sections of I-57, I-55, I-70 and I-80, catching drivers doing things they shouldn’t do while behind the wheel. Their goal is more than handing out citations; they hope to change drivers’ daily habits and ingrain the safest way to drive in their brains.

Illinois Police are “incredibly unprepared” to deal with marijuana DUI cases

From the State Journal-Register:

Illinois law-enforcement officials are “incredibly unprepared” for the potential upswing in impaired driving that could result from legalization of recreational use of marijuana.

That view of the impact of House Bill 1438 came from a Chicago-area police officer spearheading a pilot program to develop a roadside chemical test for marijuana.

Sgt. Brian Cluever, director of traffic safety at the Carol Stream Police Department, said technology to accurately check saliva for cannabis-related impairment and support driving-under-the-influence cases in courts is months and potentially years away in Illinois and other states.

And unlike alcohol, there’s no breath test for marijuana.

In addition, Cluever said it’s unclear how much it will cost and how long it will take to train more Illinois police officers on how to interview people and conduct field sobriety tests for marijuana. The field tests for pot are different from alcohol but still can be used to arrest and charge drivers with marijuana-related DUI.

Those various challenges will put police in a “tough spot,” Cluever said last week. “We won’t be ready by Jan. 1, 2020.”

But the saliva testing program that the Carol Stream Police Department began using in early 2018 for marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamines, opiates and other drugs has slowed because problems with the testing equipment prompted the department to change suppliers, Cluever said.

Testing with equipment from a new supplier began only this year, and the equipment isn’t sensitive enough detect the presence of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, down to the legal limit in Illinois — 10 nanograms per milliliter in saliva, he said. The equipment is sensitive only to 40 nanograms, he said.

Illinois’ legal limit for THC in blood for drivers is 5 nanograms/ml.

A trial of saliva-testing equipment in Michigan could detect THC no lower than 25 nanograms/ml. A February report on the Michigan pilot program said results were encouraging but that more study was needed.

A 2017 report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration highlighted the challenges facing law enforcement.

The report said surveys show there was a 48 percent increase in the prevalence of drivers testing positive for THC at any level from 2007 to 2013-14, with 8.6 percent positive in 2017 and 12.6 percent positive in 2013-14.

At the same time, the report said the percentage of drivers testing positive for alcohol at any level declined from 12.4 percent in 2007 to 8.3 percent in 2013-14.

The report pointed out that the driving risks posed by alcohol use have been well known for decades, while “relatively little” is known about the risks posed by marijuana and other drugs.

There’s evidence that marijuana “impairs psychomotor skills, divided attention, lane tracking and cognitive function,” but “its role in contributing to the occurrence of crashes remains less clear,” the report said.

Read the entire article here:  https://jg-tc.com/news/state-and-regional/govt-and-politics/police-unprepared-for-pot-impaired-drivers-in-illinois-law-enforcement/article_00eecec7-319e-55f8-89b5-038655963b02.html

Off-Duty Chicago Police Officer involved in fatal DUI Crash

From CBS-Chicago:

CHICAGO (CBS) — An off-duty police officer has been charged with driving under the influence of alcohol after his car crashed into a restaurant, killing one person in Gresham.

Marquita Reed, a nurse and mother of two, died after she was pinned underneath the car that crashed into Tony’s Philly Steak, in the 1700 block of west 87th Street…

Reed, 34, was sitting inside Tony’s Philly Steak restaurant when she was pinned underneath the car. She was pronounced dead at Advocate Christ Hospital from her injuries.

Another woman inside the restaurant suffered a leg injury, and the driver suffered a neck injury.

Chicago police said the off-duty officer is 24 years old and had been on the force for three years. The off-duty officer told police he was driving east on 87th Street when another car heading west turned in front of him, and he swerved to avoid the vehicle. The off-duty officer made a sharp turn, jumped the curb, and hit the building.

“It happened so fast that I don’t even think he had time to hit the brakes,” said Jerrell Desmond, who witnessed the crash.

Police said the officer had a blood alcohol level of .083, just over the legal limit.

Read the entire story here:  https://chicago.cbslocal.com/2019/06/09/off-duty-officer-charged-with-dui/

Elmhurst, IL will conduct a DUI roadblock Friday night

roadblockcheck

From the Patch:

Drivers in Elmhurst are warned of a planned crackdown this weekend. Police will be stationed along a major thoroughfare in town from 11:30 p.m. on Friday, April 26 until 3 a.m. on Saturday, April 27. They will be conducting a “roadside safety checkpoint” and focus on the enforcement of driving under the influence and seatbelt laws.

Arlington Heights to kick off St. Patrick’s Day weekend with a DUI roadblock tonight

checkpoint

From the Patch:

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, IL — St. Patrick’s Day is right around the corner, and with it comes plenty of festivities. The Arlington Heights Police Department announced it will enforce activities centered on the St. Patrick’s Day “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign Friday, March 15. According to a release from the department, enforcement activities will include a safety checkpoint scheduled for that date on Rand Road at Beverly Lane.

This is certainly not the only extra DUI enforcement that will be going on this weekend.  Please be safe and use a designated driver.

NYPD wants Waze App to stop DUI roadblock warnings

According to this story from CNN, the New York Police Department has complained to Google, owners of the Waze traffic app, about DUI roadblock alerts:

The nation’s largest police force is demanding Google stop allowing users to post DUI checkpoint data on its live traffic and navigation application, Waze.

The New York Police Department in a letter to Google says allowing users to upload GPS data of police locations is “encouraging reckless driving.”
“Individuals who post the locations of DWI checkpoints may be engaging in criminal conduct since such actions could be intentional attempts to prevent and/or impair the administration of the DWI laws and other relevant criminal and traffic laws. The posting of such information for public consumption is irresponsible since it only serves to aid impaired and intoxicated drivers to evade checkpoints and encourage reckless driving,” NYPD acting Deputy Commissioner Ann Prunty said in a letter to Google dated February 2.
The letter demands that Google remove any current data and continue to take “necessary precaution” to cease the data posting practice on Waze, Google Maps and any other platform owned or associated with Google.
The Waze website advertises the feature on its website, saying, “Get alerted before you approach police.”
“We believe highlighting police presence promotes road safety because drivers tend to drive more carefully and obey traffic laws when they are aware of nearby police. We’ve also seen police encourage such reporting as it serves as both a warning to drivers, as well as a way to highlight police work that keeps roadways safe,” a Waze spokesperson said in a statement to CNN on Thursday.
“There is no separate functionality for reporting police speed traps and DUI/DWI checkpoints — the Waze police icon represents general police presence,” the spokesperson said.

I was surprised to read this story, because in Illinois, the courts have required that police departments provide advance publicity of a roadside safety check in order for it to pass constitutional muster.  This is because a roadblock is an exception to our constitutional guarantee to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures.

Illinois courts have held that in order for a roadblock to be legal, the police must take steps to avoid unnecessary intrusion and hassle to the general public.  One of these ways is to provide advance publicity.  Another is to make sure that the roadblock is clearly marked with signage.

In fact, if you are a regular reader of this blog, you will know that I occasionally post information about DUI roadblocks or enhanced enforcement.  I get this information from police department press releases.

In case you are interested, there are additional rules regarding roadblocks, such as that a checkpoint cannot be run at the free discretion of officers.  Instead, supervisory personnel must determine the time and location of the checkpoint, there must be procedural guidelines set up and a plan as to which cars are to be inspected (such as every fifth car) so that it is not random or solely at the discretion of an individual officer.

 

 

 

Chicago traffic stops increased three-fold in two years

From the Chicago Tribune:

Pedestrian stops by Chicago police officers plummeted in number beginning in 2016 after a new state law and an agreement between the ACLU and the Police Department required officers to more thoroughly document and justify the encounters to ease concerns about racial profiling and constitutional violations…

But a new report from the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois says that at the same time pedestrian stops fell so sharply, Chicago police dramatically increased how often they pulled over motorists.

The number of traffic stops more than tripled, rising from 85,965 in 2015 to 187,133 in 2016, then jumping to 285,067 in 2017, the ACLU said.

The latest report also found that Chicago police stopped African-American motorists at a disproportionately higher rate than whites, Hispanics and Asians…

Multiple Chicago police officers who talked to the Tribune on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly said they believe many officers now prefer to pull drivers over rather than stop pedestrians. The documentation they must fill out for traffic stops is much simpler than the lengthy, detailed reports required for pedestrian stops as a result of the department’s agreement with the ACLU, they said.

Police have the authority to pull over drivers who commit traffic violations, but even if a ticket isn’t issued, officers are still required to document the motorist’s race and other identifiers. These so-called blue cards, though, take far less time to fill out than the reports for pedestrian stops, the officers said.

Read the entire article here:  https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-met-chicago-police-traffic-stops-20190111-story.html