Before your vehicle leaves the driveway on the way to or from a barbecue or celebration this Memorial Day weekend, remember to put your seat belt on. The Illinois Department of Transportation is in the midst of its annual “Click It or Ticket” campaign, which will conclude over Memorial Day weekend. Illinois State Police and more than 500 local officers, including the Naperville Police Department, are focusing on seat belt violations during May.
The campaign coincides with Memorial Day, which is a particularly dangerous time for drivers. Holiday weekends, such as Memorial Day, the Fourth of July and Labor Day often have more fatal car accidents than usual as more people are driving on roads that may be unfamiliar and more people may be driving while impaired.
Provisional numbers show that six people were killed and nearly 600 were injured over Memorial Day weekend in 2012. According to the Illinois Department of Transportation, there were 10 fatal motor vehicle accidents and 476 accidents involving injuries over Memorial Day 2011. Thirteen people were killed and 713 were injured. In 2010, there were 14 fatal accidents and 538 injury accidents during this weekend, which resulted in the deaths of 16 people and injuries to 799 others. From 2010-2012, about half of fatal accidents involved alcohol impairment.
Whether an accident is caused by a drunk driver, a distracted driver, or some other cause, seat belts are important life-saving devices. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) says that about half of the 21,200 people who died in car accidents in 2011 did not have seat belts on. The NHTSA also says that the loves of nearly 12,000 people were saved by seat belts in 2011.
Sources: Illinois Department of Transportation, Illinois Crashes During Holidays 2005‐2011; Positively Naperville, “Naperville Police Department reminds folks to ‘click it or ticket’ to save lives,” May 6, 2013