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  ILCC Industry Education Division



Governor expands TrAIL into northwestern Illinois

Initiative kicks off in Whiteside, Carroll, and Jo Daviess counties

DATE: December 19, 2006
CONTACT: Ted Penesis (

MOLINE—With holiday celebrations in full swing, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today expanded the state’s efforts to crack down on underage drinking by introducing the TrAIL (Tracking Alcohol in IL) Program to Jo Daviess, Carroll, and Whiteside counties.

Funded through a $100,000 traffic safety grant from the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), this Illinois Liquor Control Commission (ILCC) initiative is designed to target alcohol sources in underage drinking-related fatalities and injuries. To complement the increased law enforcement in these counties, the Governor will also expand the state’s Don’t Be Sorry campaign to educate teens, parents, and liquor retailers on the consequences of underage drinking and providing alcohol to minors. (To order educational materials, visit on the web.)

"During this time of year, we celebrate and enjoy our families,” says Gov. Blagojevich. “This is also a good time to think about what we can do to keep them safe. One of the most dangerous threats our young people face is underage drinking. While most parents try hard to prepare their kids to make responsible choices, we can't be with our kids all of the time to make sure they do the right thing.”

“That's why the TrAIL Program is so important. It helps us track down and go after people who sell or give alcohol to minors. If we're serious about curbing underage drinking, we need to address the problem from every aspect, and that includes both teaching kids to do the right thing and taking on those who are giving alcohol to minors."

Originally launched last August on a pilot basis in Sangamon and Jackson counties, TrAIL was expanded in the suburban Chicago counties of Kane and McHenry in October. Under the program, a special investigation is conducted when underage alcohol consumption is suspected in an incident—such as a car crash, underage drinking party, alcohol poisoning/overdose, sexual assault or other event—that results in injury or death. If the above criteria are met, first responding officers will call a 24-hour hotline number to deploy a TrAIL investigator, who will assist in the collection of evidence and determine where the alcohol was purchased or served.

The TrAIL Program has already achieved successes in the four pilot counties. For example, in Carbondale, an 18-year-old suffered alcohol poisoning and was taken to the emergency room. A TrAIL investigator was deployed and able to identify the adult who provided the teen with alcohol. The adult was arrested and criminal charges are pending, giving peace of mind to the teen’s parents. Additionally, less than a month after its introduction into the Chicago suburbs, three TrAIL investigations were already underway.

“While our primary goal is to hold accountable those who provide alcohol to minors, we also hope to collect more extensive data on injuries and deaths caused by underage drinking through this program,” says Ted Penesis, ILCC Industry Education Manager. “We will also track the type of liquor involved, and create a central repository to catalog those establishments who sell to underage youth.”

TrAIL will continue to be expanded into new counties over the next year with the ultimate goal of TrAIL investigators being deployed statewide. In the meantime, all current pilot counties will be evaluated to determine whether the criteria for conducting a TrAIL investigation should be expanded. Additionally, training opportunities will be held for local law enforcement, enabling them to conduct their own investigations.

Protecting our youth remains a key priority for the Governor, who has taken several steps to improve their safety through a variety of alcohol prevention and teen driving programs.

Please click here for more details about TrAIL, Don't Be Sorry, and some of the other Governor initiatives


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