SPRINGFIELD- With heavy traffic expected over Thanksgiving weekend and to boost roadway safety, the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) today kicked off the Click It or Ticket and Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over mobilization with Illinois State Police (ISP) and local law enforcement agencies statewide. By the end of the weekend, Illinois motorists could see over 1,700 safety belt enforcement zones and 40 roadside safety checks conducted by over 200 law enforcement agencies, all with a special focus on safety belt violations and impaired driving during nighttime hours.
“Traffic safety is a central and inseparable focus of IDOT’s strategic mission- to provide safe, cost-effective transportation for Illinois in ways that enhance quality of life, promote economic prosperity, and demonstrate respect for our environment,” said Acting Illinois Transportation Secretary Ann Schneider. “During Thanksgiving weekend, IDOT and law enforcement agencies throughout the state will strongly promote safe driving by reminding motorists to buckle up and drive sober, every trip, every time.”
State and local law enforcement agencies are joining IDOT’s efforts to improve highway safety by removing impaired drivers, citing motorists who text while driving, and ticketing motorists who drive unbuckled.
During the holiday period, the Illinois State Police will patrol the interstates and conduct details directed at the Fatal Four moving violations, while placing a special emphasis on driving under the influence (DUI) and speed enforcement. The goal of the coordinated effort is to reduce traffic crash fatalities, promote safe driving habits, and discourage impaired driving, distracted driving and other unsafe driving behavior.
IDOT and law enforcement are also reminding motorists that, effective January 1, 2012, all vehicle occupants including back seat passengers will be required to wear safety belts, and children within appropriate age groups are to be properly restrained in child safety seats while traveling. Previously, the law applied only to drivers, front seat passengers and children. IDOT and law enforcement officials continue to encourage motorists to not wait until January 1 to ensure that everyone in every seating position is safely and properly restrained when traveling.
Illinois crash data over the last eight years (2003-2010) shows that back seat passengers who were killed in crashes were almost twice as likely as front seat passengers to be unbuckled.
During Thanksgiving in Illinois last year, 15 people died in motor vehicle traffic crashes and nine of those deaths involved a drinking driver. In addition, 743 people were injured. Many tragedies could have been prevented if all motorists had made the right choices before hitting the road.
For more information about the Click It or Ticket safety belt enforcement campaign please visit www.buckleupillinois.org. Additional informational about the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign can be found at www.drivesoberillinois.org.