SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) is hosting a series of eight meetings around the state this month looking for the public’s assistance in developing the Fiscal Year 2008 Highway Safety Plan. The first two meetings are this week: Tuesday, May 8, in Carterville and Wednesday, May 9, in Collinsville.
Additional hearings are scheduled for May 15 in Hoffman Estates, May 16 in Rockford, May 22 in Peoria, May 23 in Springfield, May 29 in Orland Park and May 30 in Chicago (see below for meeting locations).
The meetings come as IDOT and its Division of Traffic Safety (DTS) are working to build on the safest year on Illinois roads in more than 80 years. Traffic fatalities fell below 1,300 for the first time since 1924, with more than 100 fewer people killed on Illinois highways during 2006 than 2005, while at the same time safety belt usage neared 90 percent.
“Since Gov. Rod Blagojevich signed primary safety belt enforcement into law in 2003, Illinois has seen a steady decrease in fatalities and an increase in safety belt use,” said DTS Director Michael Stout. “Our goal is to continue to build on our success in saving lives. A key to this effort is getting the public involved. That’s why these safety hearings are so important, because we need input and involvement from the public in order to build on our momentum.”
Preliminary data shows there were 1,254 traffic deaths on Illinois roadways in 2006, the lowest total since 1,065 deaths recorded in 1924. Since 2003, traffic fatalities have dropped from 1,454 to 1,355 in 2004 and 1,363 in 2005. During that same timeframe safety belt usage has increased each year from 76 percent usage in 2003 to 88 percent usage in 2006.
IDOT’s Traffic Safety Division develops the Highway Safety Plan every year and must submit it to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration by Sept. 1. It addresses highway safety issues and details problem areas, proposed countermeasures and the proposed funding levels for each. DTS will use the comments gathered at the meetings as it develops the plan this summer, and it will become part of the state Comprehensive Highway Safety Plan.
In each public hearing DTS staff will present an introduction and overview of the current Highway Safety Plan. The meeting will also feature an open session where both written and oral testimony will be accepted from community members.
Following is complete list of Traffic Safety hearings scheduled at eight locations in Illinois between May 8 and May 30.
For more information about Illinois’ traffic safety programs, go to: http://www.dot.state.il.us/safety.html
Illinois Department of Transportation
Division of Traffic Safety Public Hearings Schedule
Doors open at 6pm, hearing starts at 7 pm
John A. Logan College Collinsville Public Library
Batteau-Ivey Room, F-103 & 104 Community Room
310 West Plaza Drive 408 West Main St.
Carterville, Illinois Collinsville, Illinois
5/15/2007- Hoffman Estates 5/16/2007-Rockford
Hoffman Estates Village Hall Memorial Hall
1900 Hassell Rd. 211 N. Main St.
Hoffman Estates, Illinois Rockford, Illinois
American Red Cross Illinois Dept. of Transportation
311 W John H Gwynn Jr. Ave. Division of Traffic Safety - Annex
Peoria, Illinois 3215 Executive Park Drive
5/29/2007-Orland Park 5/30/2007-Chicago
Orland Park Civic Center James R Thompson Center
14750 S. Ravinia Ave. 100 W. Randolph, Room 2-024
Orland Park, Illinois Chicago, Illinois