Auto accident attorneys at Pintas & Mullins announce the kickoff of the 2013 Click It or Ticket campaign, which will run through Memorial Day. The Illinois State Police, along with more than 500 other law enforcement agencies, will be cracking down on seat belt violators this month, particularly in late-night hours.
Nearly 1,000 people died on Illinois roadways in 2012, a third of which were young males aged 18 to 34. The Click It or Ticket campaign is spearheaded in no small part by families of the young men who died in crashes while not wearing their seat belts. Statewide data shows that motor vehicle fatalities from unbuckled passengers tend to rise during the later afternoon hours, so special emphasis will be placed on patrolling during that time.
Specifically, the data showed that seat belt use beings to decline starting at 4 p.m. on Illinois roadways, and then drastically decline further between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. Between 2008 and 2012, during the morning/afternoon hours of 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., over 35% of people who died in roadway crashes were not wearing their seatbelts. This percentage rises to 43% at 4 p.m. and continues to rise as the night proceeds.
The Click It or Ticket campaign began in 2003 to remind motorists that seat belt usage is not voluntary, it is required by law, and that law enforcement agencies take this measure seriously. Since the campaign's initiation, seat belt usage in the state rose to nearly 94%, which is one of the country's highest rates. This has undoubtedly resulted in thousands of saved lives, prevented devastation, and a direct decline in the state's motor vehicle fatalities.
The Illinois Department of Transportation is using some of its federal safety money to help law enforcement agencies provide more seat belt enforcement to their communities. Officers will be out in abundance during rush hours and during the late-night hours when the majority of unbuckled fatalities occur. More than 1.2 million dollars will be given to state and local law enforcements to provide these extra patrol cars during the Click It or Ticket campaign.
This federal grant money will also go into funding thousands of seat belt enforcement zones throughout the state. About 50% of the increased patrol cars will be out between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m., and will also include checks for drunk driving at more than 50 roadside safety checks (similar to DUI checkpoints).
This campaign is so important because motor vehicle crashes are the number one leading cause of death and disability in Americans between the ages of four and 34. Additionally, the average healthcare costs for a critically injured survivor of a vehicle accident is about $1.1 million over their lifetime, which does not even begin to account for the pain and suffering of such an event, not only to the victim but to their family as well.
One such case occurred in the summer of 2011 in Chicago, when a 36-year-old mother and her teenage son were killed in a crash. The man who caused the crash was driving his Ford Mustang under the influence of marijuana, speeding and driving erratically. The man crashed into the parked car, where the mother, her teenage son, toddler son, and family friend were inside. The man was recently found guilty and convicted of reckless homicide and aggravated driving with cannabis in his urine. He is facing six to 28 years in jail.
Auto accident attorneys at Pintas & Mullins highlight the importance of wearing your seatbelt during every trip, no matter where you are sitting in the car. In Illinois, it is required by law for every single passenger to be wearing a seatbelt while the vehicle is in motion. If you or a loved one was seriously injured in a crash caused by a negligent driver, you may be entitled to significant compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.