IDOT Says State Traffic Deaths Break 2008 Records Amid Lower Seatbelt Use

Dec 28, 2016

The Illinois Department of Transportation says state traffic deaths have exceeded 1,000 this year, breaking records since 2008.

Credit "Seatbelt plug" by Flickr User Benjamin Goodger / (CC X 2.0)

Officials say dozens have died during the New Year’s holiday period since 2011, including drivers who tested positive for alcohol. 

As the New Year’s holiday approaches, the agency says police are increasing efforts to keep road deaths down. Scott Kristiansen, with IDOT, says a change in driver’s habits may contribute to the numbers.  

“Our seatbelt numbers are down a little bit this year. We were at 95 percent last year. We’re down at 93 this year," he says, "so that’s played a little bit into it.”

He says they're looking at other factors that may increase driving deaths.

“We’re looking at gas prices, we’re looking at more miles traveled by people because of that, better economy than it has been last year," Kristiansen said.

Ramped up efforts for the weekend include seatbelt enforcement zones and patrols focused on late hours.

Police urge residents to buckle up and report drunk drivers to law enforcement right away.