Several local police departments have stepped up traffic enforcement leading up to the Fourth of July holiday.
Illinois Department of Transportation grants fund the crackdowns, which are already in effect and run through Wednesday, July 4. Local police departments pay overtime for officers to work extra hours to spot DUI drivers and check for safety belt use.
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Bartlett, for example, was awarded 40 additional manpower hours to strictly enforce seat belt violations and about 100 additional hours to conduct DUI saturation patrols.
Other towns participating include Arlington Heights, Elk Grove Village, Palatine and Wheeling.
Several departments are setting up seat belt enforcement zones and conduct roadside safety checks at some point. Arlington Heights will do its second check Friday, June 29, on Arlington Heights Road near the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway.
Wheeling police said the Fourth of July holiday is one of the deadliest due to an increase in drunken driving. The department passed along these national and state statistics:
• Drunk-driving crashes killed 10,228 people in 2010, accounting for 31 percent of all traffic-related deaths in the U.S.
• In 2010, 392 people in the U.S. were killed in motor vehicle crashes between 6 p.m. July 2 and 6 a.m. July 6. At least one driver was legally intoxicated in 39 percent of the crashes.
• In Illinois, 13 people were killed in car crashes during the 2011 Independence Day holiday weekend. Of those, nine involved at least one driver who had been drinking.