Oak Park police plan to start targeting drivers who aren't wearing seatbelts this holiday season, ahead of a law change going into effect on Jan. 1.
Starting next year, all passengers in motor vehicles are required to buckle up, or face a ticket, according to a village news release. As such, police will step up their efforts this month to make sure everyone is following the rule.
"If you fail to buckle up during this holiday period, you run the risk of getting a ticket, or worse, being injured or killed," Deputy Police Chief Anthony Ambrose said in the press release.
Ambrose said the village is expecting a change in state laws starting in 2012, where drivers will now be responsible for making sure that every passenger is buckled up, rather than just themselves and front seat passengers. Last year during the Thanksgiving season, some 15 vehicle occupants were killed in car accidents in Illinois, and another 700 were injured.
The village cites stats from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, showing that the risk of moderate to serious injury is reduced by 50 percent by wearing a seatbelt. Least likely to buckle up are teens, young adults, males, motorists on rural roads, and people traveling in pickup trucks, according to the NHTSA.
For more information on the "Click it or Ticket" initiative, go to www.buckleupillinois.org.