Illinois State Police issue safety warnings for Thanksgiving Holiday travel period
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, November 21 through Sunday, November 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, Seatbelts 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 drunk 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. SEQ CHAPTER \h \r 1Over 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.
SEQ CHAPTER \h \r 1Motorists 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.
“I am asking everyone to buckle up, slow down, don’t drive distracted and remember that drinking and driving don’t mix,” said District 17 Commander Robert Atherton. “I know that everyone at District 7 will work hard to keep the motoring public safe. We also need the citizens of Henry, Knox, Mercer and Rock Island counties and those driving through our state to drive safely and make our roads safe for everyone. On behalf of District 77, have a safe and enjoyable Thanksgiving holiday,” added Atherton.
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
Dial 911 if an unsafe driver is observed