The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) and the Illinois State Police (ISP) today announced their plans to boost enforcement efforts over Memorial Day weekend. Hundreds more safety belt enforcement zones and other patrols are planned over the heavily-traveled holiday weekend. The upcoming Memorial Day weekend also marks the 10 year anniversary of the successful Click It or Ticket program.
“Memorial Day is a special time dedicated to the remembrance and reconciliation of those in armed forces who gave their lives to protect our values, freedom and democracy,” said Illinois Transportation Secretary Gary Hannig. “The holiday weekend serves as an historical, symbolic and solemn time, often spent with family and friends, and shouldn’t be tainted by impaired drivers or other law violators. If Illinois motorists plan to travel over Memorial Day weekend, we strongly encourage them to continue to drive sober and buckle up, every trip, every time.”
This boost in enforcement has one goal – to save lives during the Memorial Day weekend. Provisional numbers from 2010 data show that from the midnight to 2:59 am timeframe, 96 people died on Illinois roadways and only 21 percent of them were wearing safety belts. Likewise, the 3:00 am to 5:59 am period was the second most deadly time with only 33 percent of those who died in motor vehicle crashes were properly restrained by a safety belt. The Click It or Ticket campaign has helped push safety belt usage to nearly 93 percent across the state and has resulted in more than 4335 lives saved since 2000. Illinois has seen historic lows in traffic fatalities over the last two years; a safe Memorial Day weekend could help that number drop even lower in 2011.
"The Illinois State Police is committed to making this summer as safe as possible through directed enforcement initiatives,” said Illinois State Police Director Hiram Grau. “We are encouraged by the increase in the number of motorists who are wearing seat belts, and are optimistic the combination of awareness, seat belt compliance and enforcement will help reduce fatalities on Illinois roadways.”
A total of $1.58 million in federal safety dollars has been made available to the Illinois State Police, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources Police and more than 500 local law enforcement agencies to provide additional safety belt and impaired driving patrols during the two-week Click it or Ticket mobilization period. The federal dollars will also fund more than 1,200 safety belt enforcement zones and 1,000 safety belt saturation patrols. Fifty percent or more of these patrols will occur during late-night hours (11 p.m. to 6 a.m.). The mobilization includes impaired driving enforcement and more than 60 roadside safety checks.
For more information about the Click It or Ticket campaign in Illinois, go to www.buckleupillinois.org.