Police to step up Interstate 74 patrols
Efforts made to ensure safe Brickyard travel
BY KAYLA WILSON
DANVILLE — Illinois and Indiana State Police announced a new partnership Monday developed to enhance safety during the upcoming Brickyard 400 weekend.
Illinois State Police District 10 and Indiana State Police District 14 will work together to patrol their respective Interstate 74 corridors in the hopes of ensuring safe travels for all motorists.
As thousands of racing fans travel to Indianapolis over the course of the weekend, the number of traffic incidents, especially those relating to aggressive driving greatly increase, leading to unsafe driving conditions. State police hope that with this partnership, they can ensure everyone will have a safe and fun weekend.
The brainchild of Master Sergeant Rory Steidl of the Illinois State Police, this joint initiative will particularly target speeding, DUI and related alcohol infractions, failure to wear a seat belt, and evidence of aggressive driving. The officers talked about the program during a press conference Monday at the Salt Kettle Rest Stop on Interstate 74 west of Danville.
“The ultimate goal is to save lives through safe driving. But we also need the help of the public,” Steidl said. “We want everyone to have a fun and safe NASCAR weekend."
"We realized that the Brickyard 400 and related events results in a significant increase in traffic and the propensity for alcohol consumption is high. Aggressive driving and speeding are also a problem.”
To curb these incidents, the police from both states are taking a proactive policing approach.
Beginning Friday, motorists traveling I-74 can expect to see increased enforcement, including additional motorcycles on the Illinois corridor, members of the District 10 strategic set, as well as the regular shifts.
Sergeant Kim Riley of the Indiana State Police gave recommendations for motorists heading to the races this weekend.
"Be patient," he said. "There is going to be long lines going to and from the track, so you need to have patience getting in and leaving the track. No matter how much traffic direction there is, there will still be lines."
Getting to the racetrack early and leaving early, he said, also can help avoid some of the waiting.
Riley also advocated Brickyard patrons stay hydrated and, of course, limit their alcohol intake.
Additional safe travel tips police suggest include reporting impaired drivers by calling 911, making sure to look and signal before changing lanes and avoiding distracted driving.
"We’re doing what we can, but we need motorists to do what they can to make this weekend safe and enjoyable,” Steidl said.