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Sobriety check

Lowell police Officer Matthew Philbin, far left, conducts a field sobriety test in May 2016 during a Lake County DUI Task Force safety checkpoint.

There's solid reasoning behind state and Region police announcing impaired driving checkpoints before the actual enforcement.

They're trying to send a strong message that folks can and should expect to be arrested if they drive drunk — so simply don't do it.

As we head into the summer homestretch, we implore our readers to remember the cost — sometimes in human life — linked to drunken driving and that police are ready to arrest those who don't get the message.

Region police announced this week they are teaming up with some 220 law enforcement agencies statewide to increase sobriety checkpoints from mid-August through Labor Day.

You won't necessarily know when they'll be setting up ahead of time, but expect them to be out in force in the form of sobriety checkpoints and roving patrols specifically targeting impaired driving.

Think about what that means to your summer plans and act accordingly.

The Lake County prosecutor continues to pledge more stringent drunken driving charges than we've seen in the past, and the statistics show he's following through on the promise.

Far fewer drunken driving offenders are able to plead those cases down to lesser misdemeanor reckless driving charges.

A drunken driving conviction yields loss of the driver's license, fines and even jail or prison time for a repeat offender.

Region police and prosecutors estimate average costs for a drunken driver are about $10,000, including towing, attorney fees, lost time at work and other court costs.

We also know from a plethora of senseless incidents that innocent lives are lost by such behavior.

There are numerous ways to enjoy food and drink at local festivals, businesses or homes without violating the law. Designated drivers who haven't been drinking, drinking in moderation or other transportation options all are known solutions.

Make a plan and stick to it. No amount of irresponsible alcohol-related revelry is worth the legal expenses, embarrassment and risk to human life that drunken driving carries.

Finish the summer on a responsible note and check your keys in a safe place if drinking is on the schedule.


Members of The Times Editorial Board are Publisher Christopher T. White, Editor Marc Chase, Deputy Editor Kerry Erickson, Assistant Local News Editor Crista Zivanovic and Regional News Editor Sharon Ross.