SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod Blagojevich today announced the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) will develop the state’s first-ever Comprehensive Highway Safety Plan (CHSP). IDOT will host the first of two Illinois Highway Safety Summits in Springfield on Monday, March 7th.
“We want to bring together major traffic safety stakeholders in Illinois and brainstorm on how best to develop and implement a Comprehensive Highway Safety Plan,” Gov. Blagojevich said. “More than 1,300 people were killed on Illinois highways last year. Our goal is to reduce that number to 1,000 people or less and the CHSP will help move us in that direction.”
IDOT’s Division of Traffic Safety and Bureau of Safety Engineering will be responsible for developing and implementing the CHSP. They are bringing together public and private transportation professionals, state and local law enforcement officials and others to determine what needs to be included in the plan.
A CHSP brings together safety organizations, state and local agencies to build upon existing resources and provide a more coordinated safety effort. It will focus on what are referred to as the four E’s of highway safety: Engineering, Enforcement, Education and Emergency Services. The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials encourages all states to develop a CHSP as a way to reduce traffic fatalities.
“Through the enactment of the primary seatbelt enforcement law signed by Governor Blagojevich in 2003, we were able to reduce the number of people killed on Illinois highways last year by almost 100,” IDOT Secretary Timothy W. Martin said. “We feel that by bringing all of the parties together under a coordinated CHSP, we will be able to make even more progress in the future.”
Preliminary numbers indicate that in 2004 there were 1,356 people killed on Illinois highways, compared to 1,454 in 2003. The annual economic loss due to traffic crashes in Illinois is estimated to be $10.5 billion.
A second safety summit for development of the plan will be held later this month in Springfield. Approval of the plan is expected later this year and implementation is expected to begin in the fall or winter of this year.