OPS to Participate in STEP Patrols Throughout May
May 1, 2014
MACOMB, IL – The Western Illinois University Office of Public Safety will join other local law enforcement agencies in participating in the Sustained Traffic Enforcement Program (STEP) during the month of May with help from federal traffic safety money from the Illinois Department of Transportation.
OPS will begin grant enforcement details Friday, May 2 and will run additional events through Memorial Day, Monday, May 26.
The grant focuses on providing funding for additional patrols with an emphasis on seat belt-related laws and impaired driving laws, with the goal of providing safer roadways.
In Illinois, as of Jan. 1, 2012, all drivers and passengers must wear seat belts in all seating positions in the car, not just the front seat. During statewide observational surveys conducted by IDOT in 2013, the overall usage rate for rear seat occupants was 77.4 percent, versus 93.7 percent for drivers and front seat passengers.
In 2012, back seat passengers in Illinois accounted for 46 fatalities and more than 5,000 injuries. Out of those 46 fatalities, 30 of them were not wearing their seat belt.
"Seat belts save thousands of lives every year, but far too many motorists are still not buckling up, especially in the back seat," said OPS Sergeant Curt Bilbrey. "Our goal is to save more lives, so OPS will be out enforcing seat belt laws around the clock, looking for those who are not buckled up, in all seating positions. If you are caught not wearing your seat belt, you will be ticketed."
Provisional numbers show that during the 2013 Memorial Day weekend there were three fatalities and almost 600 injuries on Illinois roadways. Two of those fatalities were alcohol-related. Wearing a seatbelt is the best defense against an impaired driver.
While this year's Click It or Ticket enforcement campaign runs through May 26, officers are out enforcing seat belt laws year-round.
For more information about the Click It or Ticket campaign, visit buckleupillinois.org.