Summer holidays offer a chance for people to enjoy the weather and get together with friends and family. Unfortunately, they also come with a spike in car accidents and other personal injury incidents. Police throughout Illinois are preparing for an enforcement push meant to cut down on drinking and driving, failure to wear a seatbelt and other safety concerns. The Illinois Department of Transportation has provided funding to allow law enforcement officials a greater opportunity to catch those who violate traffic laws. Lake County Sheriff Mark C. Curran Jr. was quoted as saying "our officers will be out in full force this Fourth of July showing zero tolerance for drunk drivers and seat-belt law violators."
An IDOT representative referred to the Fourth of July as one of the deadliest holidays. Lake County alone suffered 55 fatal crashes over the course of the last five Fourth of July weekends. During that same period, more than 3,500 people were injured in Independence Day crashes, many of them involving drivers who had been drinking.
There are several ways to stay safe during the festivities. First, if you can avoid driving during late-night hours, when the number of inebriated drivers on the roads rises, you should. If you are travelling with a group where alcohol consumption might be an issue, it is important to select a designated driver who will refrain from drinking. You should take steps to prevent family and friends from driving while intoxicated. As always, if you are driving or riding in a motor vehicle, make sure to wear your seatbelt and see that everyone in the car does the same.
During holiday weekends, it is more important than ever to practice defensive driving. Pay attention to other motorists around you and watch out for those who may be distracted or impaired. Hopefully, everyone will be able to enjoy the holiday and still get home safe.
Source: Chicago Tribune, "Traffic safety crackdown set for holiday," by Pat Christensen, 1 July 2013