Illinois Department of Transportation, Ann L. Schneider, Secretary
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 24, 2009


Contact:


Marisa Kollias (IDOT) 312-814-4693
Paris Ervin (IDOT) 217-558-0517
Scott Compton (ISP) 217-782-6637


IDOT, the Illinois State Police and Illinois Law Enforcement Agencies Increase Traffic Enforcement in Life-Saving End-of-the-Year Push

Operation Save 100 continues toward goal of reducing deaths by at least 100

CHICAGO– Operation Save 100, the big, end-of-the-year push to lead Illinois to its lowest number of motor vehicle deaths since early last century began November 13 and continues through the remainder of 2009, IDOT, the Illinois State Police and nearly 300 law enforcement agencies across the state announced today.  The announcement came during nighttime safety belt enforcement zones that occurred simultaneously in eight cities around the state.  It is a widespread effort to save lives on Illinois roads during the holiday season that tragically can be one of the most dangerous times of year. 

This statewide enforcement effort focuses on the deadly nighttime hours when data shows more people die in motor vehicle crashes than at any other time of day.  For this reason, late-night motorists will see roadside safety checks, safety belt enforcement zones and other police saturation patrols looking for impaired drivers and safety belt law violators.

“There is no doubt that many serious crashes occur at night.  We are working with Illinois State Police and local agencies to keep Illinois drivers safe behind the wheel, and our goal always is to try to reduce the number of fatalities on state roadways,” said Illinois Transportation Secretary Gary Hannig.  “This high visibility enforcement effort comes at a time of year when lots of people are traveling across the state and nation, so it is a good time to focus on safety, especially during the holidays.”

Throughout the year, nearly seven out of ten fatalities occurring between midnight and 3:00 a.m. involve an impaired driver, and less than three out of ten of those who died in crashes during this time were properly restrained by a safety belt.  The picture is completely different during the higher-traffic, daytime hours with less than two out of ten fatalities involving alcohol and nearly six out of ten properly restrained.

Not coincidentally, the data also shows that late-night hours have the highest percentage of alcohol involvement and the lowest occupant restraint use.

For the last four years (2005-2008) in Illinois, 67 percent of the motor vehicle fatalities occurring from midnight to 3:00 a.m. involved an impaired driver.  For the same four year period, the midnight to 3:00 a.m. and the 3:00 a.m. to 6:00 a.m. timeframe had the lowest occupant restraint use involving motor vehicle fatalities with only 27 percent of those who died in crashes properly restrained. 

"Safely reaching your destination seems to take on greater meaning when it involves celebrating and spending quality time with family and friends.  One of the simplest and most effective ways to avoid tragedy while traveling is to wear a seat belt," said Illinois State Police Director Jonathon Monken.  "We are optimistic the seatbelt and alcohol enforcement initiatives will help make Illinois roadways safer for motorists during the holiday season, and have an impact on saving lives into the New Year."

For more information about impaired driving in Illinois, go to www.drivesoberillinois.org

Operation Save 100 Citations/Arrests Reported as of Sunday, December 20

Number of Participating Police Agencies 204
DUI Arrests Made 1,814
Zero-Tolerance Underage Arrests Made 147
Nighttime Safety Belt Citations Issued (9pm-6am) 9,647
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