SPRINGFIELD, ILL—Governor Rod R. Blagojevich, in conjunction with the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), today announced the release of more than $20.3 million in federal highway safety funds to state agencies and local government organizations throughout Illinois as outlined in the FY 2004 Illinois Highway Safety Plan.
“It is a top priority of my administration to make it so that each and every individual of the state of Illinois can get to where he or she is going safely,” said Governor Blagojevich. “Every penny of this $20.3 million will be used to make traveling on our roadways safer for everyone, residents and visitors alike.”
The funds are administered by the Illinois Department of Transportation’s Division of Traffic Safety (DTS) and are used to support and establish numerous highway safety projects designed to reduce highway deaths and injuries.
“The safety of those who travel our roadways is one of Illinois’ top priorities,” said Timothy W. Martin, Illinois Transportation Secretary. “These funds reinforce our strong commitment to ensure highway travel in Illinois is as safe as it can be.”
The FY 2004 Highway Safety Plan contains several performance-driven changes aimed at focusing highway safety resources where needed most. To better target the use of its highway safety funds, Illinois has adopted the federal model for focusing resources on the problems of alcohol and occupant protection related fatalities. The model calls for states to identify and increase enforcement in those counties in which 60 percent of motor vehicle fatalities occur and those counties in which 85 percent of the state’s population exists. Each of IDOT’s grants is evaluated to ensure it is achieving its stated goals.
Utilizing this model, Illinois is focusing its traffic safety efforts in 23 counties statewide: Adams, Champaign, Cook, DeKalb, DuPage, Kane, Kankakee, Lake, LaSalle, Macon, Madison, McHenry, McLean, Peoria, Rock Island, Sangamon, St. Clair, Tazewell, Vermilion, Whiteside, Will, Williamson and Winnebago.
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration provides the funds. State agency FY 04 grants began on July 1, 2003 and local FY 04 grants began October 1, 2003.
The state agencies involved and the amounts granted for their project activities are as follows:
·Illinois State Police $2,349,400
(alcohol & occupant protection enforcement)
·Office of the Secretary of State $439,500
(alcohol & occupant protection enforcement)
·Department of Public Health $89,900
(alcohol & occupant protection data/education)
·Illinois Liquor Control Commission $93,200
·Illinois Law Enforcement Training & Standards Board $235,000
(alcohol & occupant protection enforcement/education)
·Admin. Office of the Illinois Courts $32,000
(alcohol enforcement & education)
Some types of local projects include:
Local Alcohol Projects: These projects emphasize areas of enforcement and public information and education/community outreach/prevention. The projects are designed to address the complexity of Illinois’ alcohol traffic-safety problems, to incorporate multiple approaches to finding solutions to these problems, and to ensure that public and private entities work in cooperation to address these problems. Applications for local community/county projects amount to $1,998,640 this fiscal year.
Roadside Safety Checks: Local police agencies conduct roadside safety checkpoints using the Illinois State Police guidelines. $695,400 is focused on these checks.
Mini Alcohol Projects (MAP): Consist of 8 waves of DUI enforcement throughout the year, each preceded and followed by public information activities. The total amount for MAP projects this year is $300,000.
IMAGE Projects: Integrated Mini-Grant Enforcement Program consists of 5 enforcement campaign periods during the year. During the first and fourth campaigns, officers will concentrate on enforcement of all traffic laws with special emphasis on impaired driving violations. During the second and third campaigns, the emphasis will be on occupant restraint and during the fifth and final campaign the emphasis will be on speed violations. Public Information campaigns will be conducted prior to and immediately following each enforcement wave. The total grant amount for IMAGE projects is $929,663.
Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for Americans. In Illinois, 1,420 people were killed in crashes during 2002. The estimated economic cost of all crash-related injuries and deaths in Illinois for 2002 was $8.5 billion. While Illinois’ current safety belt usage rate is 80.1 percent for drivers and passengers, the Illinois Department of Transportation estimates that nearly 7 out of 10 vehicle occupants who die in fatal crashes are not belted.