Illinois Law Enforcement To Crackdown on Seat Belts

Some think seat belt laws are petty.  But those who enforce those laws say they couldn't be more important.

"Far too many people have already died from not wearing their seatbelts," said Sgt. Ronald Atkins of the Macon County Sheriff's Department.

From 2009 to 2013, nearly 1,400 passengers were killed in crashes in Illinois for not wearing seat belts.  This week, Illinois law enforcement collectively announced it's plan to crackdown on seatbelt patrol this summer.  They say that's when the most accidents happen.  

"When summer comes around there are students," said Atkins.  "They're on the roads more.  We have people of all ages congregating, going together for joyrides.  And in general, we tend to see an increase of serious accidents over the summer months as opposed to the winter."

It's an interesting statistic given the fact that winter is when road conditions are most dangerous.

"Last winter in Macon County there were two fatal accidents," said Atkins.

 And don't forget, officers can issue tickets for unbuckled motorists in front and back seats.

"Cops pulled me over and was like.. well.. everybody in the front seat has theirs but the ones in the back," said Decatur resident, Damon Cross.  "And it's your responsibility since you're the driver.  So.. i get pinned with that ticket anyway."

Law enforcement says that older people have the hardest time obeying seatbelt laws.  They didn't grow up with initiatives such as click it or ticket to reiterate the importance of wearing them.

"We have a population that's still out there driving that spent majority of their adult lives never wearing a seatbelt and then suddenly we're telling them they need to where a seatbelt and they're not interested," Atkins.

The specific goal is to lower the rate of highway deaths in the Illinois.  So far there have been 245 this year.
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