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  Illinois State Police News Release   

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Back to School Safety Belt Enforcement Zones

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Press Release Date: August 25, 2003    || Archived September 10, 2003
SPRINGFIELD, IL – The Illinois State Police, the Secretary of State Police and Law enforcement throughout Illinois proved they are serious about saving the lives of young motorists when they conducted a series of safety belt enforcement zones around Illinois high schools and colleges today. This enforcement effort is part of the Labor Day Click It or Ticket enforcement period, which began Sunday August 24th, extends through Labor Day and concludes September 7th.

During a safety belt enforcement zone, a contingent of police officers will ticket motorists observed not wearing their safety belt. This enforcement is often conducted at intersections when the traffic light turns red. Motorists wearing their safety belts are not inconvenienced.

Traffic crashes are the number one killer of kids and are among the leading cause of death to teens and adults. Among 18-34 year old motorists killed in car crashes last year in Illinois, nearly eight out of ten were not buckled up.

“As the school year begins, these safety belt enforcement zones are also being conducted to emphasize the need for young motorists to buckle up every time they get in a vehicle. Motorists must understand they are at equal risk of death or injury while running an errand on a neighborhood street as they are on an interstate highway,” said Timothy Martin, Secretary of the Illinois Department of Transportation.

“Many young people think they are indestructible – that they’ll live forever. For this age group in particular, messages about the benefits of safety belts fall on deaf ears,” he added. “Police officers do not want to write tickets – they want people to buckle up. Research shows that when the possibility exists of receiving a ticket and fines up to $50, motorists are more motivated to use their safety belts,” Martin said.

“The Illinois State Police will join local and county law enforcement agencies to conduct Safety Belt Enforcement Zones in every county throughout the state between August 24 and September 1,” said Illinois State Police Director Larry G. Trent. “Troopers will increase patrol coverage in the vicinity of schools during critical arrival and departure times as part of the enforcement campaign. Students who fail to buckle up will be issued tickets for failure to comply with the safety belt statute,” he concluded.

High schools and colleges throughout Illinois are encouraging this enforcement effort. Many are reminding students to buckle up during daily P.A. announcements. “Our children and young people are our most precious national resource. Unfortunately, many students are dying needlessly in car crashes because they refuse to wear their safety belts,” said Robert E. Schiller, State Superintendent of Education. “We don’t want to see a student get a ticket. We are hoping they choose to take the smart and potentially life-saving step and buckle their safety belts,” Schiller concluded.

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