Police throughout the county plan to increase patrols from before Thanksgiving through the end of the holidays.
Many departments are participating in a statewide initiative called Operation Save 100, aimed to decrease by 100 the number of vehicle-related fatalities in Illinois until Jan. 31, 2010.
“We’re going to do some saturated seat belt patrols, and we will be concentrating on various violations,” Spring Grove Police Chief Tom Sanders said.
He said increased seat belt use would safeguard travelers against winter weather conditions, as well as drunk or aggressive drivers heading home from holiday parties.
“When the conditions are icy and bad, it’s even more important,” Sanders said.
On the night before Thanksgiving, the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office would conduct two initiatives, one that focused on seat belt and car seat use and another that would target drunken driving.
The sheriff’s office is teaming up with Huntley Police and the Illinois State Police for the drunken driving enforcement.
Sheriff Keith Nygren credited such enforcement initiatives with contributing to the declining vehicle-related fatality rate in the county.
“Focused and intense traffic enforcement can make a difference, ... and that is what this is all about,” he said.
In 2007, there were 19 vehicle-related deaths in the county, he said. That number dropped to 14 in 2008. This year, there have been eight fatalities.
“Granted we’re not through the year yet, [but] it seems to be helping,” Nygren said.