JOLIET - Police have received a grant to operate roadside safety checkpoints on weekends for the next year.
The grant means more roadside safety checks in Joliet. The police plan to do at least one a month.
Joliet Police Chief Brian Benton said the Illinois Department of Transportation grant provides overtime pay for officers to target drunk drivers, though seat belt, child seat, cell phone, insurance or other driving violations can be ticketed.
"The focus of these grants, which we apply for annually, is alcohol enforcement," Benton said.
Benton said the Local Alcohol Program Enforcement Grant also allows the department to buy or replace equipment used for checkpoints, such as 18-inch orange traffic cones.
Under the grant specifications, two checkpoints can be done at any time any weekend, but Benton said the focus will be from 9 p.m. Friday to 6 a.m. Saturday.
"That's been the time when the most impaired driving incidents have occurred," Benton said. Passing drivers may be asked for breathalyzer or field sobriety tests.
Benton said checkpoints will go up in high-volume traffic areas and central locations where the most DUI reports and crashes have occurred.
"East side, downtown, far West side. We will move these throughout the city," Benton said. At least one checkpoint is scheduled for every month, in addition to others already funded by IDOT on holiday weekends.
The Alliance Against Intoxicated Motorists reports Joliet police made 113 DUI arrests in 2013.
The Secretary of State's office reports drunk driving fatalities have decreased in Illinois over the last 10 years, but in 2012, the most recent statistics available, there were 335 deaths – one-third of all traffic fatalities.