CHICAGO – November 21, 2012. Governor Pat Quinn today reminded Thanksgiving holiday travelers to think of safety first while traveling on the state’s busy roadways this weekend. Millions of drivers are expected on state highways over this Thanksgiving holiday and Illinois transportation and law enforcement officials are mounting a statewide crackdown to bust impaired drivers and make sure drivers and passengers are buckling up on every trip.
“Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to be with family and friends and take stock of our blessings,” Governor Quinn said. “But it’s also a time when roadways can be more dangerous. That’s why everyone who is traveling during the holiday week should remember to buckle up each time, and never, ever allow an impaired driver to get behind the wheel.”
The statewide “Drive to Survive” crackdown, sponsored by the Illinois Department of Transportation’s (IDOT) Division of Traffic Safety, involves Illinois State Police (ISP) and nearly 300 local law enforcement agencies across Illinois. The campaign focuses on the deadly nighttime hours when data shows more vehicle occupants die in crashes than during any other time of day. Due to this trend, late night motorists throughout Illinois will see roadside safety checks, seat belt enforcement zones and other police saturation patrols looking for seat belt law violators and drunk drivers.
Traffic safety officials are also concerned about the high number of people who die unbuckled during nighttime hours. Studies show that an average of less than one-third of occupant fatalities are restrained properly using seat belts between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. During daytime hours, seat belt usage increases substantially, with 62 percent of vehicle occupant fatalities properly restrained. This lack of belt use means far too many people are dying on Illinois roadways, particularly during nighttime hours when alcohol often is involved.
IDOT and the Illinois Tollway are also reminding drivers to focus on the road at all times and that it’s illegal to text or check email while driving in Illinois.
During the 2011 Thanksgiving holiday eight people died in traffic crashes on Illinois roadways over the five day period and 839 were injured. Of the eight individuals who were killed, four died in crashes where at least one driver had been drinking.
Statewide, year to date, 854 people have died on Illinois roadways, according to a provisional count maintained by IDOT.
For more information about IDOT’s traffic safety enforcement campaigns and safety data, please visit http://www.trafficsafety.illinois.gov.