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May Traffic Initiative

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

McHenry County, Illinois

May Traffic Initiative

Gus Philpott
Woodstock Advocate
May 14, 2009

The May Traffic Enforcement Initiative of the Woodstock Police Department has been published on the City's Police webpages. Buckle up, folks. But, of course, you are already buckled up!

Police will target "occupant restraint violations" with equal emphasis on drivers, passengers and children.

May 18th (this Monday) will kick off the nationwide "Click It or Ticket" campaign.

I am not a proponent of the Primary Seatbelt Law. I do not believe that cops should stop you and ticket you if they see you are not buckled up. Having said that, I do not start my car without buckling my seatbelt. I don't even turn my car around in my driveway without buckling up. A seatbelt saved my life when I was about 18. So I believe in seatbelt use.

I just do not believe that it should be a primary enforcement law.

The Fatal Five of the Illinois State Police are:
1. DUI
2. Speeding
3. Seat belts
4. Tailgating
5. Improper Lane Usage

There is just one huge problem with Number 3. I suspect there are very few, if any, fatal accidents caused by seatbelts or not having them buckled. Now, if a seatbelt comes "unclicked" and flies up and hits you between the eyes, causing you to lose control of your car and crash and kill someone else or yourself, that's a Cause of an fatal accident.

It's the other four that cause fatal accidents. And that's where the enforcement should be - on those dangerous moving violations.

Is it smart to drive unbuckled? Is it dumb not to buckle up? Is it dumb. stupid, reckless for a soccer mom not to buckle her kids into the proper child safety seats in her SUV? You bet!

So maybe I'll agree with ticketing the mom who doesn't buckle up her defenseless kids. But to ticket her or a juvenile or an adult passenger?

The police have better things to do with a $30,000 squad car and all the extra money sucked up from Federal grants.

According to the Woodstock PD press release, "Illinois seat belt compliance is at an all-time high of 90.5%. It is the State's goal to increase the rate to 93% in 2009 thereby reducing death and injury to to motor vehicle crashes."

Well, they could increase it to 100% by just putting a cop in every person's car or may just at every corner. Maybe this can be the last year for such a campaign and a better use of time and money next year.

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