Oh, to be young and eager to hand out your first speeding ticket.
Illinois State District 15 Police Capt. Joseph Perez cautioned speeders and scofflaws this week that officers will be out in full force over the Memorial Day holiday.
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Among them will be 18 newly sworn troopers. "They're definitely eager to make their mark on the world," said Perez at an Illinois tollway board meeting Thursday. "I'm giving fair warning."
The enforcement clampdown involves state police along with more than 500 county and municipal agencies. Officers will be looking for impaired drivers and conducting seat belt checks. Illinois' new safety belt law requires everyone in a vehicle to buckle up regardless of age or whether you're seated in the front or back.
Police started the extra patrols May 11 and, by the end of the holiday, about 1,200 safety belt enforcement zones will have been conducted. Officials also have beefed up drunken-driving patrols between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. Statistics indicate that the most dangerous time to drive is between midnight and 6 a.m. with the highest likelihood of alcohol-related crashes.
But even a common infraction such as speeding is a major contributor in crashes leading to fatalities and injuries.
"Speed is the No. 1 contributor to traffic crashes on interstate highways," Perez said.
He noted that going 15 mph over the speed limit only saves 2½ to 3 minutes time.
"Is that worth someone else's life?" Perez asked.
Drivers also should be aware of laws banning texting and driving and using a cellphone in school or construction zones, Perez said. Using a hand-held cellphone is illegal in certain jurisdictions such as Chicago.