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More cops on the road for holiday traffic safety campaigns

Lake County police departments will have patrols for intoxicated motorists sebelt enforcement between now Memorial Day. |  Sun-Times Medifile

Lake County police departments will have patrols for intoxicated motorists and seat belt enforcement between now and Memorial Day. | Sun-Times Media file

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Updated: June 16, 2013 6:17AM

A number of departments in Lake County are joining the “Click It or Ticket” and the “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign for the upcoming Memorial Day weekend and the weeks leading up to the holiday.

Vernon Hills Police Department will have extra police officers on the street through May 27 to watch for people driving in an unsafe way and to look for drivers and passengers, especially children, who are not secured with seat belts.

The department reminds drivers that since Jan. 1, 2012, Illinois law requires all passengers, regardless of age or location in the vehicle, to be secured in a seat belt or an appropriately approved child restraint system.

If a passenger has a disability or medical condition that makes him/her unable to secure his/her own safety belt, the driver is responsible for securing and adjusting the safety belt for that passenger.

There are fines and court costs if you are caught. Anyone with questions regarding seat belt laws or any other traffic law can contact the Vernon Hills Police Department Traffic Unit hotline at (847) 362-4449.

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for people age 15 to 34 in the United States. Even though most people buckle up, the majority of motor vehicle occupants killed in crashes last year were unrestrained.

“As we kick off the busy summer driving season, it’s important for everyone to buckle up every trip, every time, day or night — no excuses,” said Sheriff Mark Curran.

“Our officers are prepared to ticket anyone who is not wearing a seat belt.”

Provisional numbers show that during the 2012 Memorial Day weekend there were six fatalities and almost 600 injuries on Illinois roadways. Three of those fatalities were alcohol-related. Wearing your seat belt is your best defense against an impaired driver.

Park City police will also be out in full force. Even though seat belt use in Illinois hit a record high of 93.6 percent in 2012, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there are still thousands of vehicle drivers and passengers who do nit buckle-up.

“The goal is for 100 percent of motorists to buckle up. Buckling up costs you nothing, but the costs of not buckling up may be a ticket, or worse — your life,” said Sgt. Dwayne Harrell of the Park City Police Department.

In Waukegan, the police department will have added patrols, but they will also be conducting a roadside safety and sobriety checkpoint on May 24 from 10 p.m. and 2 a.m. at Lewis Avenue and Roger Edwards Avenue, to not only ticket people for not wearing seat belts, but to also get impaired drivers off the roadway.

The department will have five days of added roving patrols for intoxicated motorists and 12 days of seat belt enforcement between now and Memorial Day.

In Gurnee, police will be conducting their third of 13 special enforcement campaigns during this year. A roadside safety checkpoint is also scheduled for the late evening hours of May 24 and early morning hours of May 25.

The location of the checkpoint is not being announced, though in the past it has been on Grand Avenue near the tollway. Roving patrols have already started in the village.

Funding for these initiatives is from the Illinois Department of Transportation, through a Sustained Traffic Enforcement Program (STEP) grant.

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