(Chicago, IL) — January 3, 2010. Whatta ya know. Good news in Illinois.
Governor Pat Quinn and Illinois State Police Director Jonathon Monken on Saturday announced that 2009 was the safest year on Illinois roads in 88 years as traffic fatality numbers dropped below 1,000.
During 2009, more than 100 fewer people were killed on Illinois highways than in 2008, while safety belt usage exceeded 91%.
“With the assistance of the Illinois Department of Transportation, Illinois State Police, and local law enforcement, Illinois continues to make great strides in the area of public safety,” said Quinn.
In 2008, 1,043 fatalities occurred on Illinois roadways, and in 2007, 1,248 highway fatalities were reported. Since 2003, safety belt usage has increased each year from 76% in 2003 to nearly 92% in 2009.
“There is little doubt the combination of programs designed to address teen driving, impaired driving, and safety belts contributed to successfully reducing Illinois fatalities to their lowest level in 88 years, said Monken.”
Illinois State and local police have targeted violations that contribute to crash fatalities: speeding, safety belts, improper lane usage, following too closely and driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration research reveals that driver distraction is a significant factor in traffic crashes resulting in injury or death. The use of a cell phone while driving can increase the chances of becoming involved in a crash by 400%.
Starting on January 1, two new traffic laws went into effect in Illinois to take on driver cell phone distraction. The laws do the following:
- Restricts Illinois drivers under the age of 19 (with an instruction permit or graduated license) from using a wireless or cellular phone while driving. The law also prohibits the use of wireless telephones for all drivers, regardless of age, while operating a vehicle in a school zone or construction zone.
- Bans in Illinois text messaging, composing, reading or sending electronic messages, or accessing internet sites while driving a motor vehicle.
Thanks for the good news, Governor.