Illinois State Police (ISP) and local law enforcement agencies throughout the state are gearing up for the beginning of the holiday travel period. The cooperative effort is aimed at stepping up enforcement patrols as the holiday driving season begins to make the roads safe for all motorists.
Traditionally, the Thanksgiving holiday marks the beginning of the busy holiday driving period which continues through the New Year. Beginning on Wednesday, Nov. 21 through Sunday, Nov. 25, officials expect high traffic volumes on interstates and roads throughout the region, with Thanksgiving Day expected to be the busiest. Illinois State Police are urging the motoring public to adhere to the rules of the road and avoid the Fatal Four traffic violations: Speeding, DUI, Seat belts and Distracted Driving.
During this enforcement period, officers will patrol the interstates, conduct road side safety checks and participate in other traffic enforcement details to identify Fatal Four violators. Special emphasis will be placed on DUI enforcement, and holiday DUI patrols will be designated statewide. Statistics have shown that fatal crashes on the interstates increase during the Thanksgiving holiday period and a large number of these incidents are due to impaired driving.
“Although the number of crashes involving impaired drivers are on a downward trend, a single life lost to drunk driving is one life too many,” said ISP Director Hiram Grau. “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,” Grau stressed.
The teenage driver is classified as the highest risk category for becoming involved in a driving fatality during the Thanksgiving holiday period. Over the last three years, teen and college aged drivers and passengers have been involved in 50% of all fatal crashes that have occurred the day before and Thanksgiving Day. Of the crashes that occurred on those days, teen and college aged drivers and passengers accounted for 31% of the fatalities.
Motorists who consume alcohol should consider an alternative means of transportation. A DUI arrest can lead to thousands of dollars in attorney fees, court costs, insurance fees, fines and jail time, not to mention it can also blemish a driving record and result in a permanent criminal history.
“ISP District 08 has experienced several fatal traffic crashes on two lane US and state highways this year. Troopers will continue to aggressively enforce traffic laws on these roads to help ensure a safe holiday for motorists,” said ISP District 08 Commander Captain William Colbrook.
The ISP 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 restrained
- Pay attention to the weather and road conditions
- Slow down and obey posted speed limits
- Take extra precautions on rural roads with 55 mph speed limits
- Avoid distractions such as cell phone use
- Be extra alert near construction zones
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