CHICAGO — As one of the deadliest weekends for alcohol-related crashes unfolds, a recent study finds that Chicago police appear to be more aggressive in cracking down on drunken driving.
Chicago cops made almost 25 percent more drunken driving arrests in 2012 compared to the previous year, the study by the Alliance Against Intoxicated Motorists found.
In 2012, Chicago cops busted 3,795 motorists believed to be intoxicated, according to the report.
That's up from 2011, when Chicago saw 3,037 arrests, AAIM said.
The alliance cited two Chicago cops among the most active in the state in lodging drunken driving charges: Officers Timothy Walter and Matthew Tegtmeier. Walter made 179 arrests in 2012; Tegtmeier made 154 arrests.
The state’s top DUI cop was Rockford investigator John Wenstrom, with 205, AAIM said.
The study was funded by a grant from the Illinois Department of Transportation.
In the report, AAIM board vice president Marto Belluschi called drunken drivers who are busted “the lucky ones” because they are stopped by an officer "rather than a tree, another car or a small child.”
To reach .08 percent, the legal limit in Illinois, a 170-pound man would have to consume four or more drinks in one hour on an empty stomach, according to an Illinois Secretary of State fact sheet. A 137-pound woman would have to consume three drinks in one hour to reach .08.
A drink is considered a 12-ounce beer, a 5-ounce glass of wine or a cocktail containing 1.5 ounces of 80-proof liquor.
First-time offenders face losing their license for a year, plus fines and court costs.
According to the Secretary of State’s office:
• Three out of four DUI offenders are men.
• The average age is 34, with 60 percent under the age of 35.
• The average DUI offender is arrested between 11 p.m. and 4 a.m. on a weekend.
• The average drunken driver is caught with a blood alcohol level of .16 percent, or twice the legal limit.
According to the Illinois Department of Transportation, State Police and local law enforcement this weekend will collectively conduct more than 100 roadside safety checks, 400 safety belt enforcement zone checks and 500 saturation patrols to identify and arrest drunken drivers across the state.