Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Drivers Beware. State Police Manning Toll Plazas for Seat Belt Violations

As part of it's "Click it or Ticket" seat belt enforcement program, the Illinois State Police have been stationing troopers at toll plazas and catching motorists as they are paying their tolls. The most recent such campaign ran from May 15 to May 31 and resulted in 1,301 seat belt tickets being issued, most at toll plazas. Decisions on which toll plaza to be manned are usually made the morning of the operation and last about an hour. In addition to state troopers, municipal police departments are increasingly using such operations to nab motorists and issue tickets. The biggest such campaigns revolves around the Memorial Day weekend. In 2006, a total of 214 seat belt tickets were issued. This year, 418 tickets were issued. The current fine for such tickets is $55. The most common toll plaza lanes to be patrolled are the cash lanes. Though people have reported seeing troopers nab motorists at the IPass lanes as well. This calls into question the safety practices of the Illinois State Police. In addition to leading to seat belt tickets, approximately 60% of seat belt stops result in other citations being issued. It could be anywhere from a defective light to no insurance or no license. Many of these operations are also being carried out at night in hope of catching a drunk driver.

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