ILLINOIS (IRN) — Traffic fatalities in Illinois are down so far this year and state transportation officials want to keep it that way even with a record number of travelers expected to hit the roads for the holidays.
The Illinois Department of Transportation wants to finish 2019 with fewer than 1,000 traffic fatalities for the first time in several years. IDOT spokesman Guy Tridgell said there have been about 50 fewer deaths in 2019 compared to 2018.
“We’re encouraged that we’re seeing a decrease after three consecutive years of over 1,000 deaths on our roads,” he said.
However, Tridgell said that while the number of fatalities was down, there were still far too many traffic deaths.
“The goal is to see that number get to zero and we think that with the public’s cooperation in these last few days of 2019, we can continue to drive that number down lower,” he said.
In 2018, Illinois had 1,031 traffic crash-related fatalities, according to statistics provided by IDOT. As of this week, IDOT reported 965 fatalities statewide, 53 fewer than the same point in 2018.
State and local law enforcement agencies have stepped up traffic enforcement for the holidays. Tridgell said police will be looking for impaired driving and seatbelt violations, which he called “the two biggest reasons why we see fatalities on our roadways.”
More than 200 local police and sheriff’s departments are taking part in the annual “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” traffic campaign. The campaign runs over the holiday season through Jan. 2. The “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign is funded by federal highway safety dollars and administered by IDOT.
In addition to extra traffic patrol, many local law enforcement agencies also are planning roadside safety checks.