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  ILCC Industry Education Division



On-field ceremony honoring Bear fans
On Dec. 23, 2007, Liquor Commission Acting Director Lainie Krozel (third from
right)  joined other dignitaries in honoring the Bears' designated driver effort.

“Don't Be Sorry” visits Soldier Field...

State of Illinois and Chicago Bears team up to keep roads safe during “Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month”

DATE: December 23, 2007
CONTACT: Ted Penesis

CHICAGO—The Illinois Liquor Control Commission and Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) congratulate the Chicago Bears on winning the TEAM Coalition (Techniques for Effective Alcohol Management) award for encouraging fans to become designated drivers. In recognition of Illinois Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month in December, Liquor Commission Acting Director Lainie Krozel and Michael Stout, director of IDOT’s Division of Traffic Safety joined TEAM at Sunday’s Bears game to present this prestigious award. The TEAM award officially recognizes the Bears as one of the top National Football League teams in signing up fans to be designated drivers at home games, as part of the league-wide Responsibility Has Its Rewards campaign.

“I commend the Bears on their efforts to keep drunk drivers off the roads,” says Krozel. “Gov. Rod Blagojevich and the State of Illinois are committed to reducing impaired-driving fatalities, and the Liquor Commission plays an important role in this responsibility by offering increased alcohol server training opportunities, ensuring patrons are not over-served, and educating our youth on the dangers of drinking and driving. By working together as a team, we can prevent needless deaths from occurring on our roadways.”

The Liquor Commission’s BASSET (Beverage Alcohol Sellers and Servers Education and Training) Program is just one example of the State’s goal in encouraging responsible alcohol consumption this holiday season. The program educates liquor establishment owners, managers, and employees about strategies for serving alcoholic beverages responsibly and legally (visit the Industry Education Division for more information about this and other Liquor Commission alcohol education programs).

Recognition of the Bears fans’ commitment to the designated driver program coincides with IDOT’s enforcement crackdown on drunk drivers called You Drink and Drive, You Lose.

“We want to congratulate the Bears and their fans and remind everyone that true football Fans Don’t Let Fans Drive Drunk,” says IDOT’s Stout. “If you plan on consuming alcohol, whether you are at the game or watching from a house party or sports bar, pass your keys to a sober, designated driver before the party begins. We commend all the Responsibility Has Its Rewards campaign partners for creating such a fantastic incentive for fans who make the responsible decision to designate a driver.”

The TEAM award ceremony, held on-field prior to the Bears-Packers game kickoff, honored the 6,000 Bears fans who signed the designated driver pledge. As part of the Don't Be Sorry public education campaign, IDOT and Liquor Commission staff continued the Bears designated driver effort on game day in the Soldier Field concourse, with giveaways and group photos for those who signed the designated driver pledge and “walked the line” with fatal vision goggles, which simulate the effect of being intoxicated. The Don't Be Sorry campaign is funded through a $100,000 traffic safety grant from IDOT.

Additionally, during all December Bear games, the Liquor Commission aired public service announcements on the Bear Radio Network reminding parents of their responsibilities when hosting holiday parties that feature alcohol (click here to listen to these spots), and Chicago Police posted electronic signs and banners on the highways surrounding the stadium reminding drivers of the importance of staying sober on the road this holiday season.

“We want the game-day experience to continue to be safe and enjoyable for Bears fans while they enjoy Soldier Field and as they travel home after the games,” says Ted Phillips, president and CEO of the Chicago Bears. “We’re proud of our fans’ commitment to responsible behavior and thrilled to reward them with such a great opportunity.”

Sergeant Scott Slavin of the Traffic Section the Chicago Police Department says, “The Chicago Police Department would like to thank the Bears for joining us and our traffic safety partners with this initiative. The Chicago Police Department has a Zero Tolerance for Drunk Driving! Designate a driver or we will designate one for you! No excuses, no exceptions!”

Bears fans are joining millions of other Americans who already know how to “do the ride thing.” According to the 2007 Designated Driver poll conducted by Nielsen Media Research, 154 million of the American adult population have been a designated driver or have been driven home by one. Additionally, 2006 was the safest year on Illinois roads since 1924. This year, as of Dec. 21, the state is on pace to set a new low since 1924, with 13 fewer fatalities through the same date last year.

But the holiday season can still be dangerous on our roadways. To stop holiday cheer from turning into sorrow, Gov. Blagojevich proclaimed December as Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month to let drivers know that IDOT, the Illinois State Police, the Illinois Tollway, and local police agencies across the state will be mounting roadside safety checks and saturation patrols to keep our roads and highways safe.

During the 2006 NFL season, more than 100,000 football fans planned ahead and made the responsible, winning play by pledging to be designated drivers. This season, the league-wide total is estimated to be 110,000. “This promotion is an opportunity for the NFL to show support for the teams’ efforts in coordination with the concessionaire, brewer, and beer wholesaler to encourage responsible fan behavior. And for the fans, it’s a great reminder that responsibility really does have its rewards,” says Jill Pepper, executive director of the TEAM Coalition.

TEAM Coalition is an alliance of professional and collegiate sports, entertainment facilities, concessionaries, stadium service providers, the beer industry, broadcasters, traffic safety experts and others working together to promote responsible drinking and positive fan behavior at sports and entertainment facilities.

Click here to learn more about about the "Don't Be Sorry" campaign.

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