With the arrival of Memorial Day and the start of the summer travel season, the Illinois Department of Transportation on Tuesday attended numerous events highlighting data showing the ages of individuals who have died unbelted in motor vehicle crashes in recent years.
This data was stressed as a reminder to people of all ages as the Illinois State Police and over 500 local law enforcement agencies step up seat belt enforcement efforts heading into Memorial Day weekend as part of the “Click It or Ticket” campaign.
Through the holiday weekend, motorists will see hundreds of additional seat belt enforcement zones and other patrols looking for seat belt law violators and drunken drivers.
This increased enforcement effort is part of the 2014 National Memorial Day Crackdown that started May 9 in Illinois, and is intended to save lives by increasing seat belt use throughout the country.
Since 1985 in Illinois, IDOT estimates more than 9,000 lives have been saved by seat belts.
Illinois’ daytime, front-seat belt usage rate is almost 94 percent, yet motor vehicle fatality data shows people are still not buckling up.
“Even with a seat belt usage rate of nearly 94 percent in Illinois, motor vehicle crash data shows that half of those dying in vehicle crashes aren’t buckled,” Illinois Transportation Secretary Ann Schneider said, in the release. “No matter where or when you’re traveling in Illinois, you must make the life-saving decision to buckle up.”
Recent motor vehicle fatality data shows those dying in crashes while not wearing seat belts are older adults, not just teens and young adults.
“Individuals ages 21 to 34, and those aged 16 to 20, especially males in these age groups still represent over half of those dying unbuckled,” Schneider said in the release. “However, older adults between the ages of 35 to 54 also represent a large portion of unbuckled motor vehicle deaths.”
From 2009-2013, 350 people from 35 to 54 died on Illinois roadways while unbuckled. Of those, 265 were males and 85 females.
In the same time frame, 199 individuals aged 16 to 20 were killed while not wearing a seat belt; 114 between the ages of 55 to 64; 39 people aged 65.