STERLING – Turkey Day is right around the corner, and the Illinois State Police have their jobs cut out for them.
Between Wednesday and Sunday, troopers will monitor the interstates and highways in Carroll, Lee, Ogle, and Whiteside counties, and will do roadside safety checks and other traffic enforcement.
They’re even putting a bear in the air.
Specifically, troopers will be looking for the “fatal four” violations: speeding, DUI, no seat belt and distracted driving, Lt. John Biffany said.
The Wednesday before Thanksgiving typically has the most traffic, when people, including college students, are traveling to be with family, Biffany said.
According to state police, over the last 3 years, teens and college-aged drivers were involved in 50 percent of all fatal crashes the day before Thanksgiving, and they accounted for 31 percent of the dead.
“There’s so much traveling on the roads, we want to make sure people obey the speed limit, wear their seat belt, and that the kids are coming home safely and celebrating safely,” Biffany said.
Locally, about 20 troopers will patrol the highways and interstate in two shifts, and a state police plane will conduct air speed patrols, he said.
State police offer a few holiday safety tips:
- Don't drink and drive. If you do drink, designate a sober driver.
- Buckle up everyone in the vehicle.
- Pay attention to the weather and road conditions.
- Slow down and obey the speed limit.
- Take extra precautions on rural roads with a speed limit of 55 mph.
- Avoid distractions, such as cellphone use.
- Be extra alert near construction zones.
- Dial 911 if you spot an unsafe driver.