Seat belt enforcement to be increased ahead of holiday season

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CHAMPAIGN COUNTY, Ill. (WCIA) — Champaign County Sheriff Dustin Heuerman announced Monday that deputies will be increasing enforcement of occupant protection (seat belts) ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday.

Officers said the intent of this proactive enforcement is to reduce the number of fatalities on Champaign County roadways. This is made possible through a grant by the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) as part of their “Click It or Ticket” campaign.

According to IDOT:
• Illinois averages 1,000 fatality accidents each year
• As of 11/15/2021, Illinois roadways have seen 987 fatality accidents, resulting in 1,090 fatalities. Of these, 260 were documented as “restraint not used or used improperly”
• 4 out of 5 vehicle occupants who are ejected from a vehicle die as a result
• In 2020, there were 15 fatalities in Champaign County and there have been 17 so far in
2021

While these specific details are aimed at occupant protection, deputies said they will also address other
violations and offenses that they see.

“Our goal with these details is to make Champaign County roadways safer. Explicitly letting motorists know we are watching is the warning we are providing to hopefully prevent behavior known to increase the chances of a fatality in the first place,” stated Sheriff Heuerman.

“Avoiding a citation during these details is easy,” the Sheriff added. “Drive responsibly! Buckle up, limit your distractions, and don’t drive impaired. This may very well be lifesaving.”

The Sheriff also asks drivers to obey posted speed limits and not to text while driving.

Illinois law requires all vehicle occupants who are 8 years old and older to wear a properly fastened safety belt. Occupants under 8 must be secured in an appropriate child restraint system. The Illinois Secretary of State’s Office provides requirements for properly restraining children here.

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