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Historically, Thanksgiving is the busiest travel time of the year, putting more people on the road and increasing the likelihood of crashes. Each year in our country, tens of thousands of passenger vehicle occupants die in motor vehicle crashes.
In 2013, in the United States, more than 300 people were killed in crashes on Thanksgiving weekend alone. It’s a sad statistic, but even sadder is that many of those deaths could have been prevented with one simple click of a seat belt.
The Lombard Police Department is joining in this national effort along with the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), the Illinois State Police (ISP), and local law enforcement agencies across the state to save more lives by strongly enforcing seat belt and impaired driving laws.
“More than half the drivers and passengers being killed in crashes are not wearing seat belts. That’s a major problem,” said Lombard Police Chief Raymond Byrne. Nationwide in 2013, a total of 21,132 passenger vehicle occupants were killed in crashes and nearly half (49 percent%) of those occupants were not buckled up.
During Thanksgiving weekend in 2013 (from 6 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 27, to 5:59 a.m. Monday, Dec. 2), 58 percent of the passenger vehicle occupants killed in crashes nationwide were not wearing seat belts. At night, the statistic was even worse: 64 percent of the occupants killed at night were unbuckled.
“Whether you’re going across town or across the state this Thanksgiving, please make sure everyone in the car is wearing their seat belt. By law in Illinois, everyone must wear a seat belt no matter what seating position,” said Byrne. “Our officers are prepared to ticket anyone who is not wearing a seat belt and arrest those choosing to drive impaired.”
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), seat belts saved the lives of more than 12,500 passenger vehicle occupants age 5 and older nationwide in 2013. Buckle up and encourage your loved ones to do the same. You will save the cost of a ticket, and you may save a life in the process.
Visit http://buckleupillinois.org/ for more information about the Click It or Ticket and the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaigns.