The 2014 Illinois pre-Memorial Day Click It or Ticket campaign kicks off May 9, and the Oswego Police Department is joining IDOT, Illinois State Police and other law enforcement agencies to work to save lives by enforcing seatbelt laws.
As of Jan. 1, 2012, all drivers and passengers — including passengers in the back seat — must wear seatbelts. During statewide observational surveys done by IDOT in 2013, the overall usage rate for rear seat occupants was 77.4 percent, versus 93.7 percent for drivers and front seat passengers.
"Memorial Day weekend kicks off the busy summer driving season, and we want to ensure that everyone arrives at their destination safe and sound," said Oswego Capt. Jeff Burner. "Our officers are prepared to ticket anyone, front of back seat, who is not wearing a seatbelt."
In 2012, back seat passengers accounted for 46 fatalities and more than 5,000 injuries in Illinois. Of of those 46 fatalities, 30 were not wearing seatbelts.
"Seatbelts save thousands of lives every year, but far too many motorists are still not buckling up, especially in the back seat," Burgner said. "Our goal is to save more lives, so Oswego police will be out enforcing seatbelt laws around the clock, looking for those who are not buckled up in all seating positions. If you are caught not wearing your seatbelt, you will be ticketed."
During the 2013 Memorial Day weekend, there were three fatalities and almost 600 injuries on Illinois roadways. Two of those fatalities were alcohol related, and police are reminding motorists that wearing your seatbelt is your best defense against an impaired driver.
While this year's Click It or Ticket campaign lasts from May 9 to May 26, police are out enforcing seatbelt laws year round.