SPRINGFIELD –Illinois is on target to experience its second straight year since 1921 with less than 1,000 motor vehicle fatalities. The announcement comes as the statewide Click It or Ticket /You Drink & Drive. You Lose mobilization heads into the heavily-traveled Thanksgiving weekend. By the end of the holiday weekend, Illinois motorists could have seen over 2,000 safety belt enforcement zones, 68 roadside safety checks and almost 1,000 additional patrols focusing on deadly nighttime hours when fewer people buckle up and more people choose to drink and drive.
“The partnership between IDOT, state and local law enforcement exemplifies our collective commitment and dedication to traffic safety in Illinois,” said Illinois Transportation Secretary Gary Hannig. “We strongly urge all drivers and passengers to continue to buckle-up, properly secure your child in the appropriate safety seat, never drink and drive and please silence or place your cell phone in the glove compartment before driving.”
Illinois law enforcement wants all motorists to arrive safely at their destination and therefore is boosting enforcement from now through Thanksgiving weekend. In addition to the safety belt enforcement, law enforcement will be conducting roadside safety checks and impaired driving saturation patrols looking for impaired drivers. Some jurisdictions will conduct “no-refusal” details whereby law enforcement requests a warrant to draw the blood of a suspected DUI offender who has refused to be tested.
"The men and women of the Illinois State Police remain committed to the enforcement and education strategies which make Illinois roadways safer, and ask for the public's cooperation in making the upcoming holiday travel a safer and more enjoyable experience,” said Illinois State Police Acting Director Jonathon Monken.
During the 2009 Thanksgiving holiday in Illinois, 12 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes. Tragically, 75 percent of those killed were not wearing their safety belts at the time of the crash, where restraint use was known. Of the 12 fatalities, five deaths involved a drinking driver.
While safety belt use is at a record high of 92.6 percent in Illinois, 45 million Americans nationwide still fail to buckle up when they get in a motor vehicle. According to statistics from the U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), on any given day about 38 passenger vehicle occupants who are not buckled up are killed in motor vehicle crashes in the U.S.
In 2008 alone, nearly 13,000 unbuckled passenger vehicle occupants lost their lives on U.S. roadways. It is estimated that nearly one third of these lives could have been saved if they had been properly belted. NHTSA statistics also show that those least likely to buckle up are teens, young adults, males, nighttime riders, motorists traveling on rural roads and individuals traveling in pickup trucks.
Regular safety belt use is the single most effective way to protect people and reduce fatalities in motor vehicle crashes. 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.
For more information about the Click It or Ticket safety belt enforcement campaign please visit www.buckleupillinois.org.