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  Illinois State Police News Release   

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Gov. Blagojevich announces Illinois Public Safety agencies to tighten safety belt enforcement over Memorial Day weekend

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Press Release Date: May 22, 2008    || Archived June 5, 2008

State Police reminds motorists to "Click It or Ticket” and continues “Stay Alive on the I’s” campaign to reduce crashes and fatalities

SPRINGFIELD – As thousands of people plan to hit the roadways during the upcoming Memorial Day weekend, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced that the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), Illinois State Police (ISP), and hundreds of other local police agencies in Illinois are teaming up to crackdown on drivers who fail to buckle up.

“The facts are clear - buckling up saves lives,” said Gov. Blagojevich. “As millions of Americans drive to celebrate the holiday with friends and family, the simplest things you can do to protect yourself and your family while traveling is to slow down and wear your seat belt.”

During the “Click It or Ticket” Mobilization, officers will take a "zero-tolerance" approach to drivers who fail to buckle up as local police and sheriffs’ departments across the state set up numerous day and night time safety belt enforcement zones. During the mobilization, more than 500 local, state and county law enforcement agencies will dedicate more than 15,000 hours in enforcement details between May 1 and June 1, 2008. The State Police alone will conduct more than 2,000 details focusing on safety belt enforcement, speed reduction, impaired driving, and underage drinking in an effort to decrease fatalities and personal injury crashes.

In addition, the ISP will continue an initiative introduced last year called “Stay Alive on the I’s”. The enforcement initiative begins on Friday, May 23, at noon and continues until 10 p.m. During that time, all interstates will be saturated with Troopers placed every 10 miles along interstate corridors. The “Stay Alive on the I’s” enforcement initiative concludes on Monday, May 26, with a detail from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m.

“In 2007, 13 individuals lost their lives in fatal crashes during the four-day Memorial Day weekend,” said ISP Director Larry G. Trent. “Although this number is less than the 24 fatalities recorded in 2006 over same time period, all of law enforcement must remain diligent in their efforts to slow traffic down and to strictly enforce the laws pertaining to seat belts and driving under the influence.”

Governor Blagojevich signed the primary safety belt enforcement law in July of 2003. Prior to that, police could not pull a driver over based solely on a seat belt violation. Since that time, there has been an increase in safety belt use of 14 percent. In June 2003 Illinois’ safety belt compliance was 76.2%; it climbed to 83% in June of 2004, 86% in June of 2005, and 88% in June of 2006. In June 2007, the safety belt compliance rate was at an all time record rate of 90.1%.

In addition to more people wearing their seat belts, fatalities on Illinois roads have steadily declined since the enactment of the primary safety belt enforcement law. In 2003 there were 1,454 total fatalities; in 2004 there were 1,355; 2005 there were 1,363; and, in 2006 there were 1,254 fatalities. All in all, in 2007 there were 1,249 fatalities; the lowest number of fatalities since 1924.

“The safety of motorists on Illinois highways is our top priority. This initiative helps further our mission by ensuring that drivers obey the speed limit, buckle their safety belts and do not drive impaired,” said IDOT Secretary Milton R. Sees. “We fully support this initiative and ask motorists to make the choice to drive safely and ‘Stay Alive on the I’s’ this holiday weekend.”

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