Police aim for fewest traffic deaths in 88 years - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star
Police aim for fewest traffic deaths in 88 years
by Chris Green
Posted Nov 13, 2009 @ 09:59 PM
Last update Nov 13, 2009 @ 10:45 PM
SCROLL FOR MORE ON OPERATION SAVE 100
Drive safely this weekend and you may help Illinois finish the year with fewer than 1,000 traffic fatalities, which would be its lowest total in 88 years.
As of Thursday morning, there were 784 Illinois fatalities, compared with 885 for the same period last year. Illinois finished 2008 with 1,043 traffic deaths. Of those, 425 were alcohol-related and 352 involved victims who did not wear or did not properly use seat belts.
Illinois Traffic Fatalities
* As of Nov. 12
Source: Illinois Department of Transportation
“We have implemented Operation Save 100,” said Illinois State Police spokesman Brent Massingill. “By keeping overall traffic fatalities below 1,000 in 2009, we will save 100 lives and $100 million in associated costs. Each life lost in a traffic crash costs approximately $1.3 million, according to the National Safety Council.
“If we achieve our goal, we’ll see the lowest number of traffic fatalities in Illinois since 1921.”
The state police and other law enforcement agencies throughout the state typically place an emphasis on traffic control measures that focus on the “Fatal Five”: speeding, safety belts, improper lane usage, following too closely and driving under the influence. That strategy has paid off as the number of traffic deaths has dropped annually from 1,363 in 2005 to 1,043 in 2008.
To help the public achieve the statewide traffic goal, state police have implemented the Click it or Ticket campaign, which will be in effect through Nov. 29. That includes the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, traditionally one of the busiest travel periods of the year.
Rockford police also will participate in the seat belt compliance campaign.
“We’ll be setting up a seat belt enforcement zone,” Lt. Dane Person said. “We could very well move that zone around to different spots. We’ll be looking at high-volume and high-crash location areas. We’ll start the week before and go through the week after.”
The nationwide campaign is a reminder to people to wear seat belts or receive a ticket for the violation.
According to the Illinois Department of Transportation, seat belt use in the state reached an all-time high of 90.5 percent in 2008, up from 88 percent in 2006. Traffic safety officials said the increase coincides with the decline in traffic deaths.
Staff writer Chris Green can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 815-987-1241.
299 arrested for speeding in October
Illinois State Police District 16 based in Pecatonica issued 533 citations and 617 written warnings during October, and it assisted 115 stranded motorists.
Traffic enforcement activities during the month resulted in 299 drivers arrested for speeding and 79 for seat belt violations; 12 drivers were arrested for driving under the influence.
Troopers apprehended 23 people for criminal offenses or outstanding warrants. They inspected 137 commercial vehicles for compliance with Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations. Of those, 29 were placed out of service for driver or vehicle violations.
Troopers also investigated 23 traffic crashes within Boone, Winnebago, Stephenson and Jo Daviess counties; 10 involved deer and five resulted in injuries.