Noting that more than half the drivers and passengers being killed in car crashes are not wearing seat belts, the Evanston Police Department has alerted motorists that a crackdown on seat belt violations is coming this Thanksgiving weekend.

The department is joining in a national effort along with the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), the Illinois State Police (ISP), and local law enforcement agencies across the state to save more lives by strongly enforcing seat belt and impaired driving laws.


During Thanksgiving weekend in 2013 (from 6 p.m. Wednesday, Nov 27, to 5:59 a.m. Monday, Dec. 2), 58 percent of the passenger vehicle occupants killed in crashes nationwide were not wearing seat belts.  At night, the statistic was even worse; 64 percent of the occupants killed at night were unbuckled.

Traffic Unit supervisor Sgt. Tracy Williams says “whether you are going across town or across the state this Thanksgiving, please make sure everyone in the car is wearing their seat belt. By law in Illinois, everyone must wear a seat belt no matter what seating position.”

“Our officers are prepared to ticket anyone who is not wearing a seat belt and arrest those choosing to drive impaired,” Williams added.

Charles Bartling

A resident of Evanston since 1975, Chuck Bartling holds a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and has extensive experience as a reporter and editor for daily newspapers, radio...

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  1. A Better Policy to catch violators ?
    The purpose is to catch those who do not use seat-belts [fail to use signals, and other things] so that they will ALWAYS obey the law.
    Warning them of campaigns or having the check-points visible only tell them under these limited cases will they be checked and thus they ‘may’ obey the law on those dates or near the check points—and un-buckle before and after the check point.
    Like cameras to catch crime/criminals being committed, you would think they would just ‘go elsewhere’ with their crime or violation. That some/many are caught only indicates how dumb they are.
    With not using signal, using hand-held devises, not buckling up, it seems to parallel the old “tree falling in the forest when no one is there” in “if there is no policeman present it must not be a crime.”

    1. road policies
      So…I’m also amazed by all the people still talking on their cell phones, and not signaling when turning or changing lanes……AND, here’s another goodie……people constantly walking when the crosswalk shows the symbol that indicates NOT to walk…..this is constant in the downtown area, with students….and the worst part is seeing women with baby strollers, running across the street against the light. If they get hit….who is at fault? Is it automatically the driver? I would hope not!

      1. It’s the the cyclists fault

        It must be because of the bicyclists. If there were no bikes, I'm sure the roads would be infinitely safer.

        Drivers are on the phone dutifully reporting bikes running stop signs, and they're randomly changing lanes out of self-defense trying to escape a spandex-clad, critial mass bike pack. The women with baby strollers and jaywalkers are obviously fleeing from the hordes of bikes on the sidewalks.

      2. ha, bad pedestrians are also bad drivers
        It’s just that the pedestrians aren’t going fast in an armored vehicle, but they’re still the same people in and out of a car. So they’ll do the same dumb things no matter what their mode of transportation.

        But I have to say, about “people constantly walking when the crosswalk shows the symbol that indicates NOT to walk” – have you ever tried to cross the street downtown? They do not give a healthy, unencumbered young adult enough time to WALK, not run, all the way across the street before the light starts flashing. The one crossing Chicago Avenue at Grove gives you eight seconds. Forget trying to cross in time with a walking small child, who has to take 2-3 steps to an adult’s 1.

        Basically the urban planning in this town is pretty bad. It’s not set up for the urban density. The lights and crosswalks are not well timed, and the streets often have too many lanes, making everyone nervous and making mistakesl But hey, not that many people have died in accidents, so it’s all good, right?

        1. At least the sign’s voice warns you
          Unless I and others hear it wrong the light’s “voice” at least at University Place Noyes and Garrett on Sheridan say “…walk fast…” when the “Walk” sign comes on. So the city or installers must have recognized you will have minimum time to get across. If you are standing waiting you can generally make it across but 20-30 feet away is questionable.
          At least for these signs, pressing the button for “Walk” seems to make no difference in causing it to turn to “Walk” or lengthening the cross time.

  2. And the aldermen in their

    And the aldermen in their infinite wisdom want to force more afforable housing on the residents of Evanston thus enabling increased crime? This makes no sense. 

  3. Fines for Cigarette Butt Littering
    The city would do well by actually enforcing the littering laws against all those who still think it’s ok to toss their cigarette butts to the curb. The environmental damage done to our watershed is far worse than the damage done by the few goofballs left who prefer not to use seatbelts.
    Then we could use all of that money to clean up our ashtray beaches & fix those walk signals, etc. Agreed! 8 seconds is absolutely not long enough to cross many busy streets. And buckle up, people! I really don’t want to come across your bloody head in your windshield.

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