|SPRINGFIELD, IL - "Leave your aggression at home" is the message the Illinois State Police is sending to motorists this long Fourth of July weekend. According to ISP Director Gene P. Marlin, special summer "strike force" officers in unmarked Camaros and Mustangs will join troopers statewide on the lookout for drivers whose bad road manners cause crashes.|
"Tailgating, changing lanes suddenly and without signaling and darting in and out of traffic are marks of aggressive driving," said Marlin. "Almost anyone who drives can tell you this kind of behavior behind the wheel is increasing, and it’s producing more crashes. We’re out to make these drivers aware their behavior is a threat to public safety."
Marlin explained that special details will operate over the three-day holiday weekend in both marked and unmarked cars. Officers will target drivers who are aggressive or who show signs of "road rage" by speeding, cutting off other drivers, tailgating, or other risky maneuvers. The officers will write multiple citations, Marlin said, to teach these violators that respect for the law and respect for fellow motorists go hand in hand.
The state police plans other special details over the Independence Day break. In addition to the 1,100 officers working their regular patrols, more than 740 additional troopers will take part in such special assignments as DUI, air speed, roadside safety checks and emphasis patrols. In all, almost 1,900 ISP officers will be on the road, Marlin said, to assist motorists and enforce traffic laws.
Marlin reminded motorists the zero tolerance policy toward safety belt and child restraint use will be in force over the Fourth of July weekend. Troopers give only citations, not warnings, for safety belt violations. Since the policy went into effect, Marlin said, the number of tickets has climbed by 73 percent since the same period a year ago.
"Our goal is to make this holiday even safer than last year’s," Marlin said. During the three day holiday period in 1997, 13 individuals lost their lives in traffic crashes on Illinois roads.