State Police and IDOT unveil new Motorcycle Enforcement Bureau
Unit dedicated to highway enforcement, reducing traffic deaths and injuries
SPRINGFIELD – Illinois State Police (ISP) Director Larry Trent and Transportation Secretary Timothy W. Martin today unveiled the state’s new motorcycle patrol unit that will enhance traffic safety and highway enforcement efforts. The unit is a combined effort by the Illinois State Police and Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) to provide troopers more mobility and flexibility in addressing highway safety. Currently, the unit has 42 motorcycle patrol officers and can expand to 50 in the future. Funding for the new unit is being provided through IDOT’s Division of Traffic Safety.
“Motorcycles give officers more mobility to maneuver in traffic. They are easily recognized by the public and have proven to be effective in speed enforcement as well,” Director Trent said. “We anticipate that deployment of the new motorcycle patrol unit will cut down the number of drivers exceeding the speed limit and will ultimately reduce the number of crashes, deaths and injuries.”
The primary focus for troopers in the motorcycle patrol unit will be on highway safety, primarily assigned to speed enforcement duties on the interstate highways. The goal is to make Illinois’ highways safer by aggressive targeting of the “Fatal Five,” violations; speeding, safety belts, improper lane usage, following too closely and driving under the influence. IDOT’s Division of Traffic Safety is providing more than $500,000 for the motorcycles, specialized equipment and uniforms for the new patrol unit. It is being funded through federal highway dollars specifically set aside for improving highway safety.
“We’re moving in the right direction with our traffic safety efforts. We’ve seen almost a hundred fewer highway deaths the past two years than in 2003, thanks primarily to Governor Blagojevich signing the primary safety belt enforcement law,” said IDOT Secretary Martin. “We know that targeting the “fatal five” violations will bring down the number of crashes, deaths and injuries on our highways. The motorcycle patrol unit is a high-profile way to intensify our efforts.”
Goals of the motorcycle patrol unit include:
- Increase interstate speed compliance by five percent
- Reduce by ten percent the number of cars speeding by more than 21 miles per hour
- Increase mandatory safety belt compliance rate
- Increase motorcycle awareness
The main goal of the unit is to improve safety on the highways, but motorcycles are also cost effective, with an operating cost of approximately 15 cents per mile compared to a patrol car cost of 40 cents per mile.