In this story it appears out of state police are patrolling the roads in neighboring states. HUmmmm...

Police to keep close watch on rural roads
'Click It or Ticket' will be enforced


Published Monday, May 22, 2006

Country roads have few stop signs or traffic lights, and they are becoming more popular as people use them as alternative routes to busy interstates. But rural roads also are becoming increasingly lethal.

Last year, seven people died in more than 220 traffic crashes on Sangamon County's rural roads, according to the sheriff's department.

Sheriff's Lt. Dennis Karhliker said the department hopes to reduce accident rates in country areas, which is why, starting today, those driving on rural roads will be special targets of seat belt and traffic enforcement programs.

About 60 percent of all traffic deaths occur in rural areas, according to the Illinois Department of Transportation.

The sheriff's department is one of more than 350 Illinois police agencies participating in the state's largest enforcement ever of the "Click It or Ticket" laws. Police in Missouri and Iowa also are pitching in to help patrol Metro East and Quad Cities. The campaign ends June 4.

Karhliker said high speeds, the lack of seat belt use and the increasing number of rural residents have contributed to the growing numbers of injuries and deaths.

"If they can slow down, abide by the speed limit and wear their seat belts, we will certainly cut down on the amount of deaths on the county's highways," Karhliker said.

Data from the Illinois Department of Transportation shows about 86 percent of Illinois drivers wear their seat belts when driving, a 10 percent increase since 2003. Nationally, 31,693 passengers died in traffic crashes during 2004, and 55 percent were not wearing seat belts at the time of the crash, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

However, a recent report from the federal agency found that three

kinds of drivers are the worst seat belt offenders: drivers on rural roads, young males and pickup drivers.