'Click It or Ticket' Memorial Day effort
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[May 19, 2007]
SPRINGFIELD -- The Illinois
Department of Transportation and Illinois State Police are teaming
up with more than 300 local police agencies to mount the largest
ever nighttime safety belt enforcement effort in Illinois. During
the Memorial Day "Click It or Ticket" mobilization, motorists can
expect more than 3,600 safety belt enforcement zones statewide, with
almost 700 enforcement zones planned for after dark, the time when
surveys show more drivers fail to buckle up.
"Memorial Day marks the beginning of the busy summer holiday
travel season and reminds travelers that the single most important
way to protect yourself and your family is by buckling up," said
Milton Sees, acting secretary of the Illinois Department of
Transportation. "Governor Rod Blagojevich signed the primary safety
belt law in 2003, and since then we have seen a 12 percent increase
in belt usage while at the same time a sharp reduction in
fatalities. But we know that safety belt use drops off at night, and
that's why it is so important that police departments across the
state are stepping up their nighttime enforcement activities."
The Illinois Department of Transportation, Illinois State Police
and local police partners kicked off the campaign with enforcement
zones that began Thursday night in Springfield, Alton, Marion and
the Quad Cities.
Studies have shown that high-risk drivers buckle up less at
night. In 2005, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety
Administration, nearly 60 percent of all motor vehicle occupants
killed during the night were unbelted.
The statewide Memorial Day enforcement effort comes as the
Department of Transportation's Division of Traffic Safety and its
traffic safety partners across the state are aiming to reach 90
percent safety belt compliance statewide and build on the safest
year on Illinois roads in more than 80 years. Traffic fatalities
fell below 1,300 for the first time since 1924, with more than 100
fewer people killed on Illinois highways during 2006 than 2005.
Preliminary data shows there were 1,254 traffic deaths on
Illinois roadways in 2006, the lowest total since 1,065 deaths
recorded in 1924. Since 2003, traffic fatalities have dropped from
1,454 to 1,355 in 2004 and 1,363 in 2005. During that same time
frame, safety belt usage has increased each year, from 76 percent
usage in 2003 to 88 percent usage in 2006.
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"Our officers will be placing special emphasis on both
residential and rural roadways," said Larry Trent, Illinois State
Police director. "Whether running an errand during the day or
driving at night on an expressway or interstate, motorists are at
equal risk of being involved in a traffic crash. No matter the
destination, always wear your safety belt. We won't compromise on
our efforts to save lives."
Illinois is striving to reach 90 percent safety belt compliance
-- during a statewide annual survey conducted in June -- through
high-visibility enforcement, community education and paid media. The
Department of Transportation is calling on communities to join their
Click It or Ticket campaign to reach 90 percent safety belt
The governor has made improving traffic safety a priority for his
administration and has actively supported legislation to reduce
fatalities on our state's highways. Some of the measures put into
effect by Blagojevich include:
A law that bans
teen drivers from carrying more than one passenger for the first
six months after receiving their license.
A law that bans
cell phone use by drivers under 18.
under 18 to make sure that their teen passengers are buckled
properly in the front and back seats.
The primary safety
belt enforcement law, which allows officers to stop and ticket
drivers for not wearing a safety belt.
A law that raised
the age at which children must be in a restraint system or
booster seat from 4 to 8.
For more information about traffic safety programs in Illinois,
and to get involved in the effort to reach 90 percent safety belt
compliance in Illinois, go to
[Text from Illinois
Department of Transportation news release received from
Illinois Office of
Communication and Information]