An epidemic of death is hovering above our roads in Illinois and Wisconsin.
Advocacy group End Needless Death on Our Roadways has released it's list of the fatal 15, Wisconsin ranks 7, Illinois, number 8.
"We're doing what we can to reduce that number. As a matter of fact, DUI arrests in District 16 are up this year--we've already surpassed what we wrote last year," says Lt. Michael Van Vleet with the Illinois State Police.
Van Vleet says the department is working vigilantly to bring dui fatalities down.
"We're using specialized patrols, DUI Enforcement Patrols, you’re seeing Roadside Safety Checks, and we're running special emphasis patrols targeting teen drivers that use alcohol," says Van Vleet.
This year, close to 45 percent of Illinois traffic fatalities were alcohol related, Van Vleet says strict initiatives, like safety checks show a strong, visible presence that will hopefully deter people from making an awful decision.
"I believe that it's our presence out there, our patrols, not only the state police, but all the police agencies," says Van Vleet.
Van Vleet says the fatality numbers we read and hear about don't tell the entire story, we have to look deeper, and realize the pain impaired drivers inflict on victims' families.
"For every page in that book, that was someone’s life that was taken away, and it wasn't only taken away from them, it was taken away from their friends and family also. So, that's what we really need to think about, to save lives, people can have a good time on the holidays, and hopefully, they can return after the holidays and enjoy the next year," says Van Vleet.
Last year, nearly 17,000 motorists were killed nationwide in alcohol-related crashes, 6,000 of those occurred in the fatal 15.