Thursday, Dec. 23


IDOT, state police, urge motorists to celebrate safely     Send a link to a friend

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."

Over the 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 content.

[to top of second column in this article]

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.

[Illinois Department of Transportation news release]

< Top Stories index

Back to top


News | Sports | Business | Rural Review | Teaching & Learning | Home and Family | Tourism | Obituaries

Community | Perspectives | Law & Courts | Leisure Time | Spiritual Life | Health & Fitness | Teen Scene
Calendar | Letters to the Editor