UPDATE: Time To Stop Drunken Driving Deaths During Thanksgiving Holiday Week
We’re Serious: It’s Time to Stop Drunken Driving
Last year a 97-year-old woman was critically injured in a Thanksgiving-night hit and run. In 2015, Kane County saw two crashes with life-threatening injuries on Thanksgiving weekend.
When is it going to stop?
We hope, this year. Kane County law enforcers are out this weekend — one of the busiest if not the busiest travel weekend of the year — to make sure you and your family are safe. Here’s more information on this weekend’s efforts, courtesy of the Illinois Department of Transportation and local police.
IDOT, ISP to Motorists: Survive the Thanksgiving Drive
Enforcement effort to keep Illinois roads safe during high-travel period
As thousands of additional motorists prepare to visit loved ones and celebrate Thanksgiving, the Illinois Department of Transportation and Illinois State Police are reminding drivers and passengers to Click It or Ticket to reduce the risk of traffic-related injuries.
“Thanksgiving is one of the busiest travel seasons of the year, and with that comes an increase for crashes and related injuries, especially for those who are unbuckled,” said Priscilla Tobias, Director of IDOT’s Office of Program Development. “IDOT is committed to supporting the annual Click It or Ticket mobilization to help ensure friends and family members arrive at their Thanksgiving celebrations safely. Help us make zero fatalities a reality by buckling up and obeying traffic laws.”
IDOT is partnering with the Illinois State Police and more than 150 law enforcement agencies to increase patrols and checkpoints throughout the state. The enforcement effort began Nov. 17 and runs through the early morning hours of Nov. 27. A high concentration of patrols will occur between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m., when seat-belt use declines and a higher percentage of alcohol-related crashes and fatalities occur.
Though the seat-belt usage rate in Illinois in 2016 was 93 percent, those who travel unbuckled represent a large percentage of traffic-related fatalities. Of the 1,078 people who died in 2016 crashes, only 57 percent were wearing their seat belt. Illinois law requires that all vehicle occupants wear seat belts. Not wearing a seat belt drastically increases the occupant’s risk of being injured or killed in the event of a crash.
“Thousands of motorists will be traveling across Illinois roadways this Thanksgiving weekend. For the safety of all motorists, the Illinois State Police will focus patrol efforts on the Fatal Four violations, the most common causes of fatal traffic crashes: DUI, speeding, occupant restraint and distracted driving,” said Illinois State Police Director Leo P. Schmitz. “Watch your speed, buckle up, keep your eyes on the road, and please move over or slow down for any vehicle on the side of the road with emergency or hazard lights activated.”
Visit BuckleUpIllinois.org for more information about Click It or Ticket.
St. Charles Police Out in Force
The St. Charles Police Department is continuing its support of the Illinois Department of Transportation’s Sustained Traffic Enforcement Program for FY2018 and reminds motorists to fasten their seat belts over the Thanksgiving Holiday period or run the risk of receiving a ticket.
The objective of the STEP program is to reduce the incidence of motor vehicle crashes and the resulting injuries and fatalities, through increased highly visible enforcement of occupant restraint, impaired driving, speed and pedestrian safety during national and state enforcement campaigns. If you wait until you’re “buzzed” to make a decision, you may decide to drive. Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving, which means that driving “buzzed” brings very serious consequences.
From Nov. 17 through Nov. 27, St. Charles Police officers will be out in force conducting DUI and seat belt enforcement in conjunction with the Illinois Department of Transportation’s Sustained Traffic Enforcement Program aptly named Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over/Click It or Ticket.
“Fastening a seat belt takes only a second or two, and costs you nothing,” St. Charles Deputy Police Chief Dave Kintz said. “Not wearing a seat belt, especially during this Thanksgiving Holiday period, will definitely cost you a ticket at the very least, or even worse, your life.”
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, seat belt use is the single most effective way to protect people and reduce fatalities in motor vehicle crashes. The goals of the STEP Program are to reduce the number of severe injury and fatal traffic crashes, to achieve a higher use of safety belts, child safety seats and booster seats in ALL seating positions and to achieve a lower incidence of impaired driving involved injuries and fatalities.
Last year, 11 people died on Illinois roads during the long holiday weekend, those fatalities could have prevented with the click of a seat belt. Research has shown that when lap and shoulder belts are used properly, the risk of fatal injury to front seat passenger car occupants is reduced by 45 percent, and the risk of moderate to serious injury is reduced by 50 percent.
The extra patrol assignments for DUI and seat belt enforcement are being conducted in accordance with the Illinois Department of Transportation, Sustained Traffic Enforcement Program.
The St. Charles Police Department wants all drivers to Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over and all vehicle occupants to Click It or Ticket ALL DAY and ALL NIGHT. For more information about the Click It or Ticket and the Drive Sober Get Pulled Over programs, please visit www.buckleupillinois.org.
SOURCE: St. Charles Police Department news release