Click-it or Ticket; Day or Night

Click-it or Ticket; Day or Night
By: Carly O'keefe

MARION, Il. --Southern Illinois drivers will see a lot more police on the roads in coming weeks. Illinois State Police and local departments plan to conduct at least 25 nighttime roadside safety checks in each of the seven counties in District 13. Checks will include road blocks during which an officer asks to see a valid driver's license, checks that the driver and occupants are restrained, and assess whether a driver is intoxicated.

The nighttime enforcement campaign kicked off Thursday in Marion, Illinois. The effort is a part of state-wide Memorial Day enforcement. Studies show high-risk drivers are less likely to wear their seat belts at night. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, nearly 60% of all car accident victims killed in 2005 at night were not wearing their seat belts. Leading up to the holiday weekend, police want drivers to know they're out in force and ready to write a ticket day or night if you don't buckle up.

"I think it's important to note that we have a very good enforcement rate, 88% compliance. So most people make good decisions and I hope the people who are not making good decisions realize there will be zero tolerance, and they will be cited," said Illinois State Police Captain Mike Irwin of District 13 out of Du Quoin.

According to an Illinois State Police press release, preliminary data shows there were 1,254 traffic deaths on Illinois roadways in 2006, the lowest total since 1,065 deaths recorded in 1924. Traffic fatalities have continuously dropped since 2003 from 1,454 to 1,355 in 2004 and 1,363 in 2005. During that three year period, seat belt usage has increased each year from 76 percent usage in 2003 to 88% usage in 2006. Through the nighttime enforcement campaign, Illinois state police hope to bump Illinois' overall seatbelt compliance rate up to 90% for 2007.