SPRINGFIELD – With highway fatalities down thus far in 2009, Illinois Transportation Secretary Gary Hannig today announced an all out Click It or Ticket (CIOT) mobilization aimed at saving a record number of lives during the Thanksgiving Holiday. While Illinois motorists have reached a record high of 91.7 percent safety belt usage mark, the new campaign aims to save even more lives by reaching a 100 percent safety belt compliance rate.
The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), Illinois State Police (ISP) and local law enforcement agencies are coordinating the statewide law enforcement crackdown. In total, 193 enforcement agencies will participate in the crackdown and 12,268 total enforcement hours will be used. The crackdown will be in conjunction with the Operation Save 100 Initiative aimed at saving 100 lives by the end of 2009. The enforcement crackdown is coupled with a new public service announcement titled, “Cops Everywhere” which features Illinois State Police and local law enforcement officials reminding motorists to always buckle up.
“We are proud to work with state and local law enforcement to help decrease the number of fatalities in Illinois and encourage more motorists to buckle up,” said Secretary Hannig. “Buckling your safety belt saves lives and is also the best defense against an impaired driver.”
This year marks the 6th anniversary of the primary safety belt law, which was enacted in 2003. During that time statewide safety belt compliance has increased 15.5 percentage points, from 76.2 percent in 2003 to 91.7 percent in 2009. Highway fatalities in Illinois have plummeted from a high of 1,454 in 2003 to lows not seen since 1923. The downward trend has accelerated with highway fatalities down on a provisional basis as of November 10th, from 883 at this time last year to 781.
“The Illinois State Police will remain diligent in our ongoing efforts to reduce fatalities on Illinois roadways, especially during the upcoming holiday season,” said Illinois State Police Director Jonathon Monken. “Our officers are determined to reduce fatalities and achieve a record low fatality rate during 2009 by enforcing safety belt and child safety seat laws during the Click It or Ticket Mobilization.”
During this campaign, hundreds of local, state and county law enforcement agencies will dedicate thousands of hours of enforcement details from November 13th through November 29th. Additionally, the Illinois campaign is supported by a projected $600,000 in paid advertising.
Nationally, night time is the most dangerous time for safety belt use, according to NHTSA statistics. During the 2008 Thanksgiving holiday, 67 percent of the 231 passenger vehicle occupant night time crashes were unbelted (based on known restraint use) while 40 percent of the fatalities from daytime crashes were not wearing safety belts. When worn correctly, safety belts reduce the risk of fatal injury to front-seat passenger car occupants by 45 percent and by 60 percent in pickup trucks, SUVs and minivans. IDOT’s Division of Traffic Safety will focus on raising the night time safety belt compliance by challenging law enforcement agencies to hold 50 percent of enforcement at night.
Regular safety belt use is the single most effective way to protect people and reduce fatalities in motor vehicle crashes, according to NHTSA. Research has shown that when lap and shoulder belts are used properly, the risk of fatal injury to front-seat passenger car occupants is reduced by 45 percent, and the risk of moderate to serious injury is reduced by 50 percent.
In conjunction with the CIOT enforcement crackdown around the Thanksgiving holiday, Operation Save 100 officially began on Thursday, November 12 and will run through the end of 2009. During this eight-week enforcement campaign, more than 400 law enforcement agencies have been asked to enhance operations and provide weekly activity and crash reports. The earned media campaign will consist of television and radio interviews, bi-weekly press releases, periodic news conferences and community activities statewide.
For more information, on the Click It or Ticket campaign or to download outreach materials for use in your community, please visit www.buckleupillinois.org.