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MATTOON -- The Mattoon Police Department has announced plans to conduct special patrols on Friday and Saturday before St. Patrick’s Day on Sunday to arrest impaired drivers and encourage seat belt use.

“We’re urging you to plan ahead for St. Patrick’s Day festivities,” said Capt. Ray Hall. “Don’t ever drive under the influence of alcohol or any drug. It’s not just about you. There are other people on the roads who are impacted by your decisions.”

Party hosts are advised that they can be held liable if someone they serve is involved in a drunk driving crash. Hosts are encouraged to serve plenty of food and non-alcoholic drinks.

Partygoers are encouraged to have a designated driver or other transportation available, or stay where they are and sleep it off.

Pedestrians are advised to keep an eye out for cars because even a sober driver is a risk if the pedestrian is drinking and walking. Drivers are asked to be alert for impaired walkers.

The St. Patrick’s Day campaign is part of the Illinois “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” and “Click It or Ticket” programs supported through federal funds administered by the Illinois Department of Transportation.

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Rob Stroud is a reporter for the JG-TC, covering the city of Mattoon, Lake Land College, Cumberland County and areas including Oakland, Casey and Martinsville.

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