|SPRINGFIELD, IL - Sixteen people lost their lives as a result of 14 traffic crashes in Illinois over the Thanksgiving holiday, according to provisional figures released today by the Illinois State Police. Last year, 25 people were killed during the long weekend that starts the traditional holiday season. The victims ranged in age from 7-49. Three of the fatalities were teenagers. Twelve victims were male and four were female. Fourteen of the 16 dead were not wearing seat belts.|
There were three fatal crashes on Wednesday, three Thursday, five on Friday, two on Saturday, and one on Sunday. Two of the crashes occurred during daylinght hours while 12 took place between the hours of 5 p.m. and 5 a.m.
"We are very gratified to see this substantial reduction in fatalities compared to last year," said ISP Acting Director Gene Marlin. "The statistics show that our men and women put forth an even greater effort, and we believe that helped reduce the number of serious accidents and fatalities."
According to Marlin, state police officers issued 18,679 citations and written warnings this year, compared to 15,052 in 1997. Troopers this year issued more than 6,000 tickets for speeding and arrested 125 motorists for DUI. With ISP officers no longer giving warnings for seat belt violations, they wrote over 1,800 tickets for safety belt violations, well over twice last year’s amount.
"We’re off to a promising start," Marlin said. "The men and women of the Illinois State Police will be patrolling our roads to see if they can make this the safest holiday season ever."