The Evanston Police Department is warning motorists that it will be joining a statewide enforcement program during the Thanksgiving holiday season to issue tickets to motorists who fail to fasten their seatbelts as required by law.

Known popularly as “Click It or Ticket,” the goal of the program is to reduce motor vehicle crashes and resulting injuries and fatalities, according to EPD Sgt. Tracy Williams, supervisor of the Evanston Police Traffic Unit.

With the statewide seat-belt usage rate at 93.8 percent, according to the Illinois Department of Transportation, that’s a sign that wearing a seat belt is second nature for most, Williams says.

“We’re looking for the few Illinois motorists who skip this lifesaving step,” he adds.

Drivers and passengers can expect a ticket from the Evanston Police Department if they are spotted without a seat belt, he warns.  Although the special enforcement initiative will be in effect from Nov. 17-27, motorists are subject to being ticketed for the offense at any time before or after those dates.

According to research by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Williams says, among passenger vehicle occupants killed in 2016 daytime crashes, 41 percent were unrestrained. Nighttime crashes show a significantly higher number of unbelted occupant fatalities at 56 percent. 

.“During Thanksgiving weekend and throughout the year,” Williams added, “motorists on our roads can expect to be ticketed if they are unbelted or driving impaired or distracted.” 

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. NHTSA data shows a 4.6%

    NHTSA data shows a 4.6% increase is unbelted deaths last year. Why? I don’t understand why someone wouldn’t wear a seat belt. It takes only about a second to put one on.

    1. Why is the message so unfriendly?

      I travel around the U.S. a lot and notice that Illinois is by far the most unfriendly in conveying safety messages. Too bad. Many other states, get the message across in a less harsh way; in a way that conveys concern about the citizens rather than a message of punishment. 

    2. Road Fatalities are up overall

      Overall road fatalities are up by 5.6%, so there is nothing special about the increase in unbelted fatalities.  So the reason why is whatever is causing the broader trend.

      What is more troubling is the increased fatality rate per VMT (vehicle million miles traveled). This rate had been in a consistent decades-long decline until about 2011 and has crept up slightly since then.  Some people think the reversal is due to distracted driving, but the change in 2016 over 2015 shows a decrease in distracted driving related road fatalities.  Whatever the reason driving a mile appears to be more dangerous that it was was in 2011. 

      1. I would take the distracted

        I would take the distracted driving numbers with a grain of salt. Not all local police departments are accurately reporting distracted driving. 

        Those outside of the car are bearing a disproportionate part of the carnage. I’ve heard that because of the shape of the front end of an SUV or crossover, pedestrians hit by one are less likely to survive than if they where hit by a sedan.

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