ILLINOIS (KFVS) - Stay safe while traveling in the Heartland this summer by using your seat belt.
That is the message from the Illinois Department of Transportation and state and local law enforcement agencies are joining forces to remind motorists to wear their seat belts and avoid impaired driving.
"Wearing your seat belt is the law, but it's also a matter of common sense," said Illinois Transportation Secretary Randy Blankenhorn. "Making the right choice to buckle up, every time, no matter where you are seated, substantially increases your chance of survival in the event of a crash. By buckling up and avoiding impaired driving, you can help keep Illinois roads safer for all who are traveling."
Motorists can expect to see increased patrols and enforcement zones throughout Illinois as part of IDOT's "Click It or Ticket" campaign.
To help kick off the campaign, law enforcement agencies throughout Illinois will join neighboring states Monday, May 22, from 4 to 8 p.m., in mobilizing the national "Border to Border" Operation, sending a zero-tolerance message to the public that driving or riding unbuckled will result in a ticket, no matter what state.
These unified efforts to crack down on unbuckled and impaired drivers come at a time when traffic fatalities are on the rise. Illinois has seen an increase in motor vehicle fatalities over the last two years.
According to 2015 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data, 42 percent of nationwide motor vehicle fatalities involved unbuckled vehicle occupants.
Seat belts are designed to keep you positioned safely in a vehicle. Should a crash occur, a seat belt helps slow down the body, works in conjunction with the airbag and spreads force over a wider area of the body, lessening the likelihood of injury or ejection.
"You can safeguard the lives of your passengers and fellow motorists simply by buckling up," said Illinois State Police Director Leo P. Schmitz. "Whether you're traveling block-to-block or border-to-border, make sure every occupant in your vehicle is wearing their seat belt."
For more information on the "Click It or Ticket" mobilization, visit buckleupillinois.org.