Village beefs up patrols
Norma Mendoza,, The Edwardsville Intelligencer
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In case you didn't notice, Glen Carbon Police have had extra officers on traffic patrol since Feb. 1 and will continue the special traffic enforcement details until the end of the month.

Sgt. Ned Miller said the extra officers are looking for drivers impaired by drugs or alcohol, for speeders and for violators of occupant restraint laws.

The patrols are made available by a Speed Enforcement Program grant through the Illinois Department of Transportation.

Miller said the objective is not just to write more tickets, but rather to save more lives.

Excessive speed is a factor in nearly half of all vehicle crashes in Illinois that involve fatalities.

Many lives can be saved by changing attitudes about risky behaviors behind the wheel, such as speeding, driving while impaired and not using seat belts or child restraints.

"The Illinois Department of Transportation first began helping the Glen Carbon Police to provide extra police coverage in 2002," Miller said. "Glen Carbon roadways have been fatality-free ever since."

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 31,693 passenger-vehicle occupants died in traffic crashes during 2006. More than half of those killed were not wearing their seat belts at the time of the crash.

Even more alarming, Miller said, is that the ejection rate for occupants of pickup trucks involved in fatal crashes is nearly double the passenger-car rate, mainly because the light trucks roll over twice as often as do passenger cars.

"You can increase your odds of survival in a rollover crash in light trucks by nearly 80 percent if you are wearing your safety belt," Miller said.

Excessive speed, use of alcohol, low use of seat belts, vehicle rollovers and high occupant ejection rates are all contributors to high rates of fatalities.

"That is why the Glen Carbon Police Department is joining federal, state and local law enforcement and highway safety partners in Illinois to launch an aggressive and extended public awareness and traffic enforcement initiative," Miller said.

"Help make our roadways safe. Obey the speed limit, don't drink and drive, and buckle up!"