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The Illinois Way

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

The Illinois Way

Gus Philpott
Woodstock Advocate
May 11, 2010

Ain't it nice?

The "Click It or Ticket" campaign continues alive and well throughout Illinois and there is no money for schools.

Illinois has a "primary enforcement" law for seat belts. What this means is, if you don't have your seatbelt buckled (or your front-seat passenger doesn't), you can be stopped without the officer's having to see any other violation.

Wouldn't it be nice to know just how much IDOT's Division of Traffic Safety funnels to 501 law enforcement agencies on an annual basis? According to today's Northwest Herald article, compliance with the seatbelt law has increased from 76.2% in 2003 to 91.7% in 2009.

Maybe, with even more money, compliance can edge on up to 100%. Of course, this is require a cop at the end of every driveway in the state to check drivers before they pull out onto the open road.

Don't get me wrong. I wear my seatbelt all the time. I fasten my seatbelt before even starting the engine. A seatbelt saved my life in about 1958, well before seatbelts were regularly installed in or required in cars. I think it's pretty stupid to drive a car without a seatbelt in use.

But I don't agree with the primary enforcement law. Illinois spends millions of dollars each year, now trying to gain a small percentage increase in compliance. Courts will yank millions of dollars out of drivers' wallets for fines and court costs - money that could put groceries on the table or teachers in classrooms.

I'll tell you what will prevent fatal accidents. More careful driving.

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