SPRINGFIELD, ILL. --Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich recently authorized the release of $1,998,640 in federal highway safety funds to help law enforcement agencies throughout the state fund local alcohol programs.
“It is a primary commitment of my administration to increase safety on the roadways of Illinois,” said Governor Blagojevich. “With the release of these funds, various local law enforcement agencies will have the dollars necessary to help reduce the number of alcohol related injuries and fatalities on our streets.”
Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for Americans. In Illinois, during 2002, 1,420 persons were killed in fatal crashes. The total estimated cost of all crashes in Illinois for 2002 was $8.5 billion.
The primary goal of local alcohol programs is to reduce the number of fatalities and serious injuries resulting from traffic crashes by intoxicated drivers. “Increased enforcement of DUI laws is a major component of the programs, and through a hire back plan, police officers will be able to patrol for a greater number of hours and concentrate patrol efforts on roadways with a high frequency of traffic crashes,” said Tom DiLello, director of IDOT’s Division of Traffic Safety. “Attention will also be focused on the increased enforcement of both the mandatory safety belt law and the child passenger protection law.”
Examples of these grant recipients include the following law enforcement agencies:
· St. Clair County Sheriff’s Department, $165,408
· Waukegan Police Department, $121,104
· Elgin Police Department, $40,501
The Illinois Department of Transportation’s Division of Traffic Safety is responsible for administering the grants. The grants became available for use on October 1, 2003 through the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.