Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, the Illinois Department of Transportation and the Illinois State Police announced that heightened public awareness and coordinated and aggressive efforts contributed to reducing traffic deaths from the Labor Day weekend to 12--the lowest number since 1981.
"Reduced traffic deaths are the direct results of drivers being more alert and making smart decisions," said IDOT Secretary Timothy Martin. "We are working very closely with the Illinois State Police and other state agencies to send the message that if you drink and drive, you lose."
Over the last 24 years nearly 500 people have died on Illinois roadways over the Labor Day weekend, an average of more than 20 driving-related deaths per year. The reduction to 12 this year is a result of stepped up state education and enforcement efforts related to alcohol and seatbelt use.
From Sept. 3-6, Illinois State Police issued 8,462 driving citations statewide, with 458 related to alcohol and 2,381 for safety belt violations.
The improve holiday safety results come just more than a year after Gov. Blagojevich signed legislation changing the state's seat belt law from a secondary to a primary violation. IDOT said that 83% of motorists were wearing seat belts in 2004.