EPD showing ‘zero tolerance’ for seat belt violations


Daily file photo by Zack Laurence

An Evanston Police Department squad car. EPD will participate in the national “Click It or Ticket” campaign from May 18-29.

Syd Stone, City Editor

Evanston is partnering with the Illinois Department of Transportation for a national seat belt enforcement campaign during one of the busiest travel and holiday weekends of the year.

According to a city news release, EPD will enforce a zero tolerance policy for seat belt violations May 18-29 with an emphasis on nighttime enforcement as part of the national “Click It or Ticket” campaign.

EPD will take a “no-excuses” approach to seat belt enforcement, writing citations “day and night.” According to the release, motorists caught not wearing seat belts will be ticketed and those caught driving impaired will be arrested.

“Our law enforcement personnel see firsthand the loss of life when people refuse to buckle up,” EPD traffic unit Sgt. Tracy Williams said in the release. “It’s such a simple and effective way to protect yourself while traveling. As the Memorial Day weekend approaches, we want to make sure people are doing everything they can to stay safe in the unfortunate event of a crash.”

Illinois has a 93.8 percent observed seat belt usage rate, the release said, but a disproportionate number of fatalities involve unbelted motorists and passengers. Of the 1,093 traffic deaths in Illinois in 2017, the release said 54 percent of those killed were not wearing seat belts.

“Please help us spread this life-saving message before one more friend or family member is killed as a result of this senseless inaction,” Williams said. “Seat belts save lives, and every vehicle occupant — front seat and back, child and adult — needs to remember to buckle up, every trip, every time. Together, we can make zero fatalities a reality in Illinois.”

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Twitter: @sydstone16