Participants in the summit in
Springfield on Monday included representatives from AAA, the
Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police, the Midwest Truckers
Association, the Illinois Association of County Engineers, Chicago
Area Transportation Study, the Federal Highway Administration, the
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Federal Motor
Carrier Safety Administration, Illinois Broadcasters Association,
the Illinois secretary of state's office, the Illinois Commerce
Commission, Illinois Department of Public Health, Illinois State
Police, Chicago Police Department and the Illinois Municipal League.
"Today, we brought together the major
traffic safety stakeholders in Illinois and discussed potential
areas of emphasis for the state's first-ever comprehensive highway
safety plan," Martin said. "On behalf of Governor Blagojevich, I
want to thank representatives of the groups that attended today's
safety summit for their valuable ideas. With your ideas in mind, we
will build a plan to make Illinois highways safer."
During the summit, participants
identified challenges on Illinois highways, including alcohol- and
drug-impaired driving, safety belt use, work zone safety, and
improved driver behavior and awareness, and discussed potential ways
to address these challenges. A comprehensive highway safety plan
will focus on what are referred to as the four E's of highway
safety: engineering, enforcement, education and emergency services.
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"Developing a comprehensive highway
safety plan will help guide Illinois to safer roads in the future,"
said Don McNamara, Great Lakes regional administrator with the
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. "Better coordination
between all parties involved in traffic safety issues will
ultimately save lives."
Working with public and private
transportation professionals, state and local law enforcement
officials, and others to determine what needs to be included in the
plan, the Department of Transportation's Division of Traffic Safety
and Bureau of Safety Engineering will be responsible for developing
and implementing the comprehensive highway safety plan.
With help from the comprehensive
plan, the state's goal is to reduce fatalities on Illinois highways
to 1,000. Preliminary numbers indicate that, in 2004, 1,356 people
were killed on Illinois highways, compared with 1,454 in 2003. The
annual economic loss due to traffic crashes in Illinois is estimated
to be $10.5 billion.
A second safety summit for
development of the plan will be later this month in Springfield.
Approval of the plan is expected later this year, and implementation
is expected to begin in the fall or winter of this year.
[News release from the governor's office]