Cheryle Jackson 312/814.3158
Abby Ottenhoff 312/814.3158
Gerardo Cardenas 312/814.3158
Rebecca Rausch 217/782.7355
Matt Vanover 217/836.2267 (IDOT)
Mike Claffey 312/814.3957 (IDOT)
Gov. Blagojevich announces
to make Illinois roads safer
Comprehensive Highway Safety Plan is
a coordinated effort to save lives
Governor announces stepped up law enforcement
on Illinois roadways during Labor Day weekend
CHICAGO – On the day before the traditional
start of the Labor Day weekend -- one of the heaviest travel holidays of the
year -- Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced Illinois’ first-ever
blueprint for how to save lives on Illinois roadways. The Illinois Comprehensive
Highway Safety Plan (CHSP) will build on the Illinois’ safety successes in
recent years in order to save lives. In 2004, Illinois posted the lowest number
of traffic fatalities since 1943. The Illinois Department of Transportation
reports that 86% of drivers observed were wearing their seatbelts in 2004, up
ten percent from just two years ago.
Also today, Governor Blagojevich announced that Illinois is participating in the
national You Drink & Drive. You Lose campaign, a 17-day enforcement period,
which centers around Labor Day. Illinois will invest $950,000 in the public
awareness campaign, coupled with more than 200 roadside safety checks by state
and local police.
“We have brought together some the best and the brightest in the state in terms
of traffic safety and law enforcement, and we asked them to put together an
aggressive action plan to save lives on our highways,” said the Governor. “And
that’s exactly what they did. We’ve got a lot of hard work ahead of us to reach
our goal of reducing traffic fatalities to below 1,000 by the end of 2008, but
we now have a road map for how to get there.”
The Governor also noted that at a time of skyrocketing fuel prices, fuel
efficiency provides yet another reason for motorists to slow down. According to
estimates by the U.S. EPA, driving at 65 mph, rather than 55 mph, increases fuel
consumption by 15 to 20 percent. Driving at speeds in excess of the 65 mph speed
limit wastes even more fuel.
The CHSP focuses on what are known as the four E’s of highway safety:
Engineering, Enforcement, Education and Emergency Services and integrates these
into all ten emphasis areas. The plan brings together safety organizations, and
state and local agencies to build upon existing resources and deliver a more
focused and coordinated safety effort.
The 10-targeted areas of emphasis are:
Alcohol and Other Impaired Driving.
Driver Behavior and Awareness.
Highway-Railroad Grade Crossings.
Information Systems for Decision Making.
Safety Belts/Occupant Protection.
Vulnerable Users (pedestrians, bicyclists,
For each of these areas, the plan reviews
recently implemented tactics, lays out the primary challenges and offers a set
of proposed new strategies. Implementation of aspects of the plan will begin
In the area of Alcohol and Other Impaired driving, for example, the plan calls
for, among other things, focusing more resources on high-visibility enforcement
actions; tougher enforcement of underage drinking laws; working with prosecutors
and courts to reduce repeat DUI offenses; and support for Illinois State Police
efforts to develop eye-scan technology to detect impaired drivers.
In March, Governor Blagojevich directed IDOT to develop the CHSP. In the months
following, IDOT brought together public and private transportation
professionals, state and local law enforcement officials and others to determine
what needs to be included in the plan.
"The CHSP signed by Governor Blagojevich today gives all of us who have a vested
interest in highway safety a clear vision of where we need to focus our
resources in the coming months and years," stated Illinois State Police Director
Larry G. Trent. "To save one life would make it a worthwhile endeavor, but to
save over 300 lives would be heroic."
IDOT is charged with implementing the CHSP, which the new federal transportation
bill requires states to have by October 1, 2007. Illinois is ahead of many other
states with this effort and is being looked to as a model for its’ plan.
“Traffic deaths and injuries are both a major public health concern and an
economic issue,” said IDOT Secretary Timothy W. Martin. “Traffic crashes are the
leading cause of death for children and young adults. On top of that, crashes
cost the Illinois economy $10.5 billion a year, in terms of property damage,
medical and legal costs, lost wages and the cost of emergency services.”
As he outlined Illinois’ long-term plan to reduce traffic related deaths on our
highways, Governor Blagojevich also detailed enforcement activities and urged
motorists to use caution as they drive during the Labor Day Holiday weekend.
Illinois is participating in the national You Drink & Drive. You Lose campaign,
a 17-day enforcement period, which centers around Labor Day. This is the second
coordinated national crackdown effort since all 50 states have adopted the .08
Blood Alcohol Content law.
You Drink & Drive. You Lose combines focused law enforcement efforts with a
coordinated education campaign. Nationally, $14 million will be spent on a
public awareness campaign, the largest advertising campaign since You Drink &
Drive. You Lose debuted in 1999. Here in Illinois, the $700,000 public awareness
campaign will be backed up with more than 200 roadside safety checks by state
and local police.
“This is traditionally the last chance of the year for families to get outside
and enjoy summer activities together,” Gov. Blagojevich said. “We hope that
people will hear our message to think safety first and to not drink and drive.
If they don’t listen to that message, we hope they are caught in one of our
roadside safety checks, before a tragedy occurs.”
The Blagojevich Administration has previously taken a number of steps designed
to improve traffic safety prior to adopting the CHSP. These include:
A law that bans teen drivers from carrying
more than one passenger for the first six months after receiving his or her
The primary seat belt enforcement law that
allows officers to stop and ticket drivers for not wearing a seat belt.
A law that raised the age at which
children must be in booster seats from 4 to 8.
A law that bans drivers under the age of
18 from using a cell phone.
A law requiring drivers under 18 to ensure
teen passengers are properly buckled up in the front and back seats.
Laws that allow photo speed enforcement in
work zones when workers are present and increase the fines for speeding in a
Tougher drunk driving penalties.
IDOT safety experts believe these measures are
having an impact. Seat belt use has climbed steadily from 76 percent in 2003 to
83 percent in 2004, and 86 percent in 2005. Last year’s fatality numbers were 98
less than the previous year.
The plan was developed by the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) in
coordination with the Illinois State Police, Illinois State Toll Highway
Authority, the Departments of Public Health and Central Management Services, the
State Board of Education, and the Secretary of State. Participants in the
creation of the CHSP will be reconvening in 2006 to evaluate the progress that
is being made.
The full Illinois CHSP is available
to the public on IDOT’s website.