Press Release Date:
August 3, 2003
|| Archived August 25, 2003
State and Local Police Test New Safety Belt Enforcement Tool Safety Belt Enforcement Zones May Become Commonplace During Click It or Ticket
CHICAGO, IL – Unbelted motorists driving through Illinois on Sunday got a glimpse into the future of Illinois safety belt enforcement when they were pulled over and ticketed during a Safety Belt Enforcement Zone. This new type of safety belt enforcement can be utilized because Illinois now has a primary safety belt law, which allow law enforcement to pull over and ticket motorists who refuse to buckle-up. The Illinois State Police, the Chicago Police Department and other local and county law enforcement participated in the eight-city pilot.
“During the Safety Belt Enforcement Zone, traffic is controlled much the same as during a roadside safety check. Unlike a roadside safety check, however, only motorists who have been observed in violation of safety belt laws are stopped and ticketed,” according to Timothy Martin, Secretary of the Illinois Department of Transportation. “No other motorists are inconvenienced,” he continued.
The goal of the enforcement zones is not to write tickets. The goal is to change behavior and save lives. If the Safety Belt Enforcement Zone pilot is successful, plans are in place to utilize this new enforcement tool during the upcoming Click It or Ticket Labor Day mobilization. The Click It or Ticket Labor Day enforcement period is scheduled for August 25th through September 7th.
The Click It or Ticket campaign relies on high visibility seatbelt enforcement periods coupled with aggressive communication to let people know about the dangers of not buckling up. For many non-seatbelt users, and especially young people, the threat of a ticket has proven to be a greater incentive to buckle up than the threat of injury or death.
It is important that motorists understand the importance of buckling up every time they get into their vehicle. Traffic crashes are the number one killer of kids and are among the leading cause of death to teens and adults. Among 18-34 year old motorists killed in car crashes last year in Illinois, nearly eight out of ten were not buckled up.
“Many young people think they are indestructible – that they’ll live forever. For this age group in particular, messages about the benefits of safety belts fall on deaf ears,” according to Larry Trent, Director of the Illinois State Police. “Police officers do not want to write tickets – they want people to buckle-up. Research shows that when the possibility exists of receiving a ticket and fines of up to $50, motorists are more motivated to use their safety belts,” Trent concluded.
The Safety Belt Enforcement Zone pilot was conducted in Chicago, Springfield, Rockford, Peoria, the Quad Cities, Quincy, Collinsville, and Carbondale.