Illinois police departments try to reduce number of road fatalities this year

Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Illinois Department of Transportation and Illinois State Police have begun a statewide campaign to reduce the number of road fatalities in Illinois this year by 100. The program began last Thursday and will continue until the end of the year.

There were 1,043 road fatalities in Illinois last year, and this year officials want that figure to be at 943 or less. If successful, the state will have experienced the fewest road fatalities since 1921. Organizations and advocacy groups throughout the state are encouraging citizens to promote public awareness of unsafe driving practices, such as driving while impaired, distracted, or unbelted. In addition to saving lives, the program is also aimed at reducing the costs associated with car crashes. According to the National Safety Council, the average economic cost associated with a road fatality is $1 million.

More than 400 law enforcement agencies throughout the state are being asked to enhance operations and provide weekly activity and crash reports. The Itasca Police Department, for example, has joined the initiative and will target DUI and seat belt violations, and the Ottawa Police Department will increase enforcement of driving laws by issuing citations to violators.