The Illinois State Police said Thanksgiving is expected to be the busiest travel day over the long holiday weekend and drivers are asked to follow the rules of the road, particularly when drinking and driving are involved.
“Although the number of crashes involving impaired drivers has significantly decreased over the years, a single life lost to drunk driving is one life too many and we know that alcohol is a factor during the Thanksgiving holiday period,” said Illinois State Police Director Hiram Grau in a news release.
“Troopers and local police officers will saturate the roads and interstates with targeted patrols to enforce ISP’s Fatal Four mission - with a special emphasis on impaired driving.”
The Illinois State Police is targeting impaired drivers through its enforcement statewide and will coordinate with local law enforcement agencies, according to the State Police. Thanksgiving is one of the most popular holidays where college students and young people are involved in fatal driving accidents due to alcohol.
According to the Illinois State Police during the enforcement period, officers will be patrolling the interstates, conducting road side safety checks and participating in other traffic enforcement details to identify the Illinois State Police's "Fatal Four" moving violations: Speeding, DUI, Seatbelts and Distracted Driving.
Wearing seat belts helps reduces the risk of fatal injuries for those in the front seat is reduced 45 percent, while wearing seat belts also reduces serious injuries in rear seat passengers by 50 percent. Drivers should be wearing seat belts, and in 2012 it will be required that every person in a vehicle — regardless of age — wear one, according to a news release from the Will County Sheriff’s Office.
“We urge everyone driving on Illinois roadways this holiday season to drive carefully, do not drive impaired and, most importantly, buckle up each and every trip, day or night,” said Will County Sheriff’s Office, Traffic Division Sgt. Steve Byland in a news release. “The best defense against an impaired driver or a distracted driver is a safety belt.”
In Illinois, during the 2010 Thanksgiving holiday period, 15 vehicle occupants died in traffic crashes; 9 of those deaths involved a drinking driver and more than 700 people were injured, according to the Will County Sheriff’s Office.
The Illinois State Police offers the following alternatives for those who choose to celebrate with alcohol:
- Do not drink and drive, designate a sober driver
- Buckle up and make sure that all vehicle occupants are properly
- Pay attention to the weather and road conditions
- Slow down and obey posted speed limits
- Take extra precautions on rural roads with 55 mile per hour speed limits
- Avoid distractions such as cell phone use
- Be extra alert around construction zones
- Call local authorities if an unsafe driver is observed
For more information about the Click It or Ticket and the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaigns, please visit www.buckleupillinois.org.