Editor's note: The following is from press releases issued by the Plainfield Police Department and Will County Sheriff's Department:
Thanksgiving can be a dangerous time for motorists, especially unbelted ones — during the day or at night.
The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) and the Plainfield police are reminding everyone who will be out on the roadways this holiday season to drive carefully and defensively, do not drive impaired and, most importantly, buckle up.
To lose a loved one is a terrible thing to experience, especially during the holidays. But to lose one’s life, when it might have been saved by taking two seconds to buckle a seat belt, is truly senseless, Plainfield Traffic Sgt. Eric Munson said in a press release. When you are in your vehicle, no matter the distance, please remember to buckle up, every trip, every time. Far too often, this good advice is not heeded. In Illinois, during the 2011 Thanksgiving holiday, there were eight fatalities and more than 800 injuries.
Statistics show that those least likely to buckle up are teens, young male adults, nighttime passengers, motorists driving on rural roads and individuals traveling in pickup trucks — especially during late-night hours.
Late-night hours are when the highest percentage of motorists die in alcohol-involved crashes and the lowest percentage of vehicle occupants wear seat belts. In this day of cell phones, texting and other driving distractions, young people are even more at risk, Munson said.
That is why law enforcement will be out in full force during a Thanksgiving mobilization from Nov. 12-25. This stepped-up enforcement throughout Illinois will remind drivers that wearing a seat belt costs you nothing, but not wearing it could cost you a ticket, or worse — your life.
The same applies when you have been drinking and choose to drive. Police remind drivers and passengers, front and back seat, to Click It or Ticket, day and night — and remember, Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.
The Plainfield Police Department wishes everyone a safe and happy Thanksgiving. Remember to buckle up, every trip, every time and designate a sober driver.
The Will County Sheriff's office will also be conducting stepped-up Click It or Ticket/Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over enforcements.
"Fastening a seat belt takes only a second or two, and costs you nothing. Not wearing a seat belt, especially during this Thanksgiving period, will definitely cost you a ticket at the very least, or even worse, your life," said Sgt. Steve Byland.
For more information on the Illinois Click It or Ticket campaign, visit www.buckleupillinois.org.