Oak Park to crack down on seatbelt-less drivers

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By Marty Stempniak

Staff Reporter

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.

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Q from Oak Park  

Posted: November 18th, 2011 3:27 PM

Jim Coughlin, funny about the blonde being Doc Severson. I'm sure that caused a lot of limpness with men finding that out. A driver stopped in a bus lane in Chicago, causing the buses to go around him. Nice he did stop to text, but you don't stop in a road way like another driver did on Forest Avenue, North of N.Blvd. These are drivers that can benefit from a ticket for causing traffic jambs and creating dangerous maneuvers for other drivers to go around them.


Posted: November 18th, 2011 11:29 AM

I drove, sans seat belt, and ate a sandwich yesterday-really. I could not grab my smart phone, however, to post about it while I was driving.

Al K  

Posted: November 16th, 2011 12:19 PM

I put seat belts in my 1963 car. After an accident where someone turned into me and pushed me into the ditch totalling my car, I only had a sore knee. Seat belts help me control my vehicle so I am better able to avoid hurting or killing someone else. It's not just my safety involved. I started texting in 1984 for work and yes we were told to pull over. It was dangerous in the city but not so bad on country roads.

Jim Coughlin  

Posted: November 16th, 2011 11:36 AM

Q, we're back to the issue of distracted drivers. That's a major problem. Whether you're texting, chowing down, fiddling with the radio, checking on the kids in the back seat,daydreaming,chatting on the phone,etc.,.; you're not paying attention. I recall Johnny Carson set up a camera on a L.A. street to catch drivers eyeballing a blonde walking down the street. Dozens of drivers were shown oogling the "babe" who turned out to be Doc Severisen wearing a long,flowing wig.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: November 16th, 2011 11:23 AM

Cont.... Mothers pushing baby carriages. People walking their dogs. Friends walking with each other, but texting others. Stop this obsession with texting and driving. Have the person call you. It's a lot safer, and if it is that important, they will call. You are not that important of a person that you need to be texting while driving. No one is!! Make a phone call if it's an emergency. Even Law Enforcement are texting while driving while they should be Patrolling.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: November 16th, 2011 11:19 AM

Texting and the Law. Is there any stepped up efforts to ticket the texters? Is there even a clear law on texting? Texting requires the person to take their eye's off the rode and concentrate on texting. I'm sure everyone has had the pleasure of being behind a texter going 20 mph in a 30 mph zone. That is how much concentration it requires to text while driving. You just can't operate a vehicle safely. A lot of people text constantly. Look around. Who are they texting? cont....

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: November 16th, 2011 11:12 AM

Sear belts save lives, and the more time you are in a vehicle, the more your chances increase of being in an accident. Why aren't Police Officers required to wear seat belts? It's not because they need to jump out of their vehicle at any given moment. When they respond to call, they drive at faster rate, and need to go through red lights, stop signs, around people and vehicles.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: November 16th, 2011 11:09 AM

Hoopley Doo from Oak Park, Tom is just pointing out how far are we willing to put up with laws to monitor us by. I'm all in favor of seat belts. They have saved many lives. What would be better to have Law Enforcement do if they are stopping for seat belts is to advise the motorist on the facts of seat belts saving lives, and not ticket the person.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: November 16th, 2011 11:05 AM

Done from Oak Park, you are correct. There are a lot of driving laws that were created to improve safety, but it's not just Oak Park, that is following the insurance industries law. It is an Illinois law.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: November 16th, 2011 11:02 AM

Anita from River Forest, totally agree that you have to be responsible for kids, but I also know that a driver is responsible for the safety of every passenger in the vehicle. I'm just saying that these laws are created by insurance companies, and get tax payers to pay for Law Enforcement, to enforce the insurance companies laws.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: November 16th, 2011 11:00 AM

Ellie from Oak Park, think what you said. People have to pay for other people in accidents who don't wear their seat belts. How could that be? They have insurance, and insurance has to pay. Oh yes, that's right. Insurance doesn't loose money. They just increase premiums to everyone to pay for others. So why does insurance even exist? Because everyone likes the idea but don't understand it.

Zus from Oak Park  

Posted: November 16th, 2011 5:34 AM

I wish they would crack down on the idiots who text while driving--especially those sanctimonious and "responsible" parents who have kids in the back seat.


Posted: November 15th, 2011 6:06 PM

I agree with "Done" on the stop signs issue...most drivers look at those as "suggestions". And at least one out of three drivers I see are still texting while driving...ticket! ticket! ticket!

Hoopley Doo from Oak Park  

Posted: November 15th, 2011 2:32 PM

This is very controlling and ignorant. Next thing you know I will have to put video cameras in my kid's rooms to make sure they aren't watching porn. Big brother is watching you! and @ Tom: your idea is goofy and you're an idiot.

Tom Scharre  

Posted: November 15th, 2011 11:00 AM

Just an idea -- perhaps goofy. But maybe the village could assign someone to monitor my usage of toilet paper and tax me accordingly.

Done from Oak Park  

Posted: November 15th, 2011 9:03 AM

"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. Let me also add "If you fail to STOP FOR STOP SIGNS, which is also a law, you run the risk of being injured or killed." I left out "run the risk of getting a ticket", since that isn't enforced. How about we enforce that one this holiday season, OPPD? Just think of the revenue!


Posted: November 15th, 2011 8:38 AM

Q - once you are disabled from an injury that could have been avoided by the use of a seat belt you will want money from your insurance company and services from the governement because you won't be able to pay for the medical care - or even daily living expenses - when you are out of work and need $$$$$ of medical care, rehab etc etc etc. Seat belts are a good thing and the law is there for people too ignorant to figure that out.


Posted: November 15th, 2011 8:10 AM

Anita, Do remember the car seats in the 70's. Kids buckled? What about those station wagons with the rear collapsible seat right next to the rear gate that unbuckled kids would sit?

Anita from River Forest  

Posted: November 15th, 2011 7:53 AM

Seat belts are for safety, and I think the issue here is legislating safety. I began wearing seat belts in 1972 when I bought my first car, long before it was the law. I did it for the selfish reason of keeping me safe, on the off chance that I could be rear-ended. Conditioned now as I am to wearing my seat belt, I feel quite vulnerable just before I buckle up. I do think, though, that adults should have the right to choose their own safety, after, of course, the children are buckled in.

Ellie from Oak Park  

Posted: November 14th, 2011 9:10 PM

Ok, if you want to pay for the severe head injuries and disability of people (and children) whose lives are ruined when they are involved in accidents, make fun of the law and the meager fines that are only collected by those too stupid to comply. Because we all pay, believe me.

gotta get outta oak park  

Posted: November 14th, 2011 7:58 PM

Love it Q! I wear them, my choice, but yes, when I read this I just thought, OP is so cool and creative about finding ways to get more money!!!!! Did you see the bit on OP on the montage of the first page of the A E section in the Tribune. "Oak Park will soon be legislating which days you can go to the bathroom." I'm starting to think they get orgasmic over disgruntled residents.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: November 14th, 2011 4:15 PM

Seat belts are a terrific device to help save lives, but should be let up to the individual driver who is also responsible for everyone else in the vehicle. The law was created and passed to save insurance industry money and having it a law requires Police to enforce it at taxpayers money for the insurance industry.

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