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IDOT Thanksgiving Release

Illinois Law Enforcement to Crack Down on Front and
              Back Seat Belt Law Violators
              “Click it or Ticket” Thanksgiving Holiday Campaign
              Begins; Data Shows more Back Seat Passengers Need to
              Buckle Up

              CHICAGO – The Illinois Department of Transportation
              (IDOT) today announced that the Illinois State Police
              (ISP) and more than 200 local police departments will
              be out in full force before and during the
              Thanksgiving holiday to crack down on motorists not
              buckling their seatbelts or driving under the
              influence. The stepped up effort, during one of the
              heaviest travel seasons of the year, is a part of the
              national “Click It or Ticket” campaign, which is
              geared towards saving lives by encouraging seat belt
              usage by every motorist in every seating position.

              This end of the year push comes as Illinois’
              year-to-date motor vehicle fatalities are about 4
              percent higher than this time last year, and also on
              the heels of data showing too few passengers are
              complying with the backseat belt law, enacted in
              2012.

To make zero crash fatalities a reality in Illinois,
              all motorists and passengers need to buckle up;
              particularly in the back seat where usage rates are
              much too low,” said Illinois Transportation Secretary
              Ann Schneider. “We are encouraged that about 94
              percent of drivers are buckling up, but we need to
              make sure all passengers and drivers are buckling up.
              When motorists make the decision to buckle up, they
              are increasing their chances of survival and
              decreasing the risk of being seriously injured in
              case of a crash.”

              During the 2012 Thanksgiving holiday (from 6 p.m. on
              Wednesday before Thanksgiving to midnight on the
              Sunday following Thanksgiving), nine people died in
              traffic crashes on Illinois roads and 737 were
              injured. Of the nine individuals killed, three died
              in crashes where at least one driver had been
              drinking.
                                    -more-
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              Hundreds of seat belt enforcement zones and
              additional patrols looking for belt law violators
              will take place alongside roadside safety checks and
              saturation patrols looking for drunk drivers in this
              all-out effort to save lives on Illinois roads.

              “Illinois State Police are urging the motoring public
              to buckle up and drive responsibly when traveling
              during the busy holiday season,” said ISP Lieutenant
              Colonel Terry Lemming. “Every second counts when it
              comes to road safety and our officers will be
              enforcing all traffic laws and reminding drivers and
              passengers that seat belts save lives.”

              In 2003, Illinois passed a “primary” belt law meaning
              every driver and front seat passenger could be pulled
              over for failing to wear a seat belt. On January 1,
              2012, Illinois law was expanded to require every
              driver and passenger to wear seat belts regardless of
              where seated in the vehicle. Passage of the primary
              seat belt law 10 years ago has helped to increase
              belt use by nearly 20 percentage points, saving
              hundreds of lives on Illinois roads.

              As of June 2013, Illinois’ overall seat belt usage
              rate by drivers and front-seat passengers was 93.7
              percent, the highest ever. An observational survey
              conducted by IDOT in September 2013 shows the new law
              has not yet had the same effect on passengers riding
              in back seats with only 77.4 percent of back seat
              passengers wearing seat belts. Further survey data
              obtained in September shows the upstate counties
              (sample taken from DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry and
              Winnebago) have the highest back seat usage rate at
              82.4 percent, followed by Cook County and the
              downstate counties (sample taken from Champaign,
              Bureau, Effingham, Rock Island, Madison and St.
              Clair) at approximately 77 percent.  The city of
              Chicago had the lowest back seat usage rate at 61.2
              percent.
                Safety belt use by Illinois motorists (2013)
              Region Drivers   Front Seat Passengers   Rear Seat
              Occupants
              Chicago 90.1% 81.9% 61.2%
              Cook   93.2% 89.3% 77.0%
              Upstate1     94.4% 89.6% 82.4%
              Downstate2   95.0% 95.0% 76.8%
              Total   93.8% 90.0% 77.4%

              1.    Upstate sample taken from the following
              counties: DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry and Winnebago
              2.    Downstate sample taken from the following
              counties: Champaign, Bureau, Effingham, Rock Island,
              Madison and St. Clair

              Follow IDOT’s Division of Traffic Safety on Twitter
              @ILTrafficSafety. For more information about Illinois
              traffic safety programs, please visit
              www.trafficsafety.illinois.gov.

              ###

              This e-mail is a service of the State of Illinois.
              If you have any questions about this e-mail or the
              attached document, please contact the Illinois Office
              of Communication and Information (IOCI), Room 611,
              Stratton Office Building, Springfield, Illinois
              62706, (217) 558-1548.

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