IDOT, state police, urge motorists to
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Safety belt use urged, designated drivers
encouraged during holiday period
[DEC. 23, 2004]
PEORIA -- Illinois
Department of Transportation Secretary Timothy W. Martin and
Illinois State Police Director Larry Trent joined Tuesday in urging
motorists to buckle up and not drive impaired during this busy
holiday season. Both the Department of Transportation and the
Illinois State Police are focusing their resources on getting more
motorists to wear seat belts and reduce the number of impaired
drivers on the roads.
"We know that Christmas and New Year's
are a time for families and friends to get together and celebrate;
we just ask that you celebrate safely," Martin said. "Over the busy
Thanksgiving holiday weekend, we had 17 people killed on Illinois
roads, and with holiday parties and travel, the potential is even
greater for tragedy."
period covering the Thanksgiving holiday weekend this year, 17
people were killed in 11 fatal accidents. Results are still
preliminary, but at least three of the people killed were not
wearing seat belts. Alcohol-related statistics for the Thanksgiving
holiday are not yet available.
"Simply put, designated drivers and
buckling up save lives, but unfortunately, some people just don't
get the message," Trent said. "We are seeing fewer people killed
this year, and I honestly believe it is due to Governor Blagojevich
signing the primary seat belt enforcement law in 2003. People know
they can get pulled over for not wearing their seat belts, so more
people are buckling up."
Through Dec. 13, a total of 1,272
people were killed on Illinois roads this year, 135 fewer than last
year during the same time period, when the figure was 1,407. Of the
people killed this year in traffic crashes on Illinois roads, 402
were not wearing seat belts. In 2003, 1,454 people were killed in
traffic crashes on Illinois roads, and of the drivers killed last
year, 43 percent of those tested had a positive blood-alcohol
[to top of second column in
During the Christmas and New Year's
holidays in 2003, 38 people were killed in traffic crashes, and half
of those killed were not wearing seat belts.
The Illinois State Police began
making additional roadside safety checks throughout the state during
the Thanksgiving weekend and will continue these checks through Jan.
5, 2005. In addition to the roadside safety checks, the state police
are running seat belt enforcement zones and patrols aimed at
reducing the fatal five offenses that contribute to crashes:
speeding, not using seat belts, following too closely, impaired
driving and improper lane usage.
The Illinois Department of
Transportation encourages motorists to celebrate safely this holiday
season by having a designated driver and buckling up, every trip,
every time. The department is also encouraging celebrating the New
Year's holiday safely by partnering with several First Night,
alcohol-free celebrations throughout Illinois, including
Springfield, Evanston and Rockford.
Department of Transportation news release]