Illinois conducts highway safety summit

| Tuesday, March 22, 2005

The state of Illinois is developing a plan to improve safety on the state’s highways that could lead to changes in state policy, including enforcement.

A group of public and private industry officials met March 7 after Gov. Rod Blagojevich announced the effort to develop a Comprehensive Highway Safety Plan, state officials said in a news release. The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials encourages all states to develop a such a plan to help reduce traffic fatalities, according to the release.

The goal of the plan is to bring the number of annual traffic fatalities in the state down to 1,000. Figures provided by the state show that 1,356 people died on the state’s highways in 2004, compared with 1,454 in 2003.

At the meeting, the participants identified several factors affecting those figures, such as alcohol- and drug-impaired driving, safety-belt use and work zone safety, among others.

The group also discussed factors that would be included in a Comprehensive Highway Safety Plan, such as “the four E’s of highway safety: Engineering, Enforcement, Education and Emergency Services.”

In addition to law-enforcement and state government personnel, the safety plan meeting included representatives of AAA, a regional trucking organization, the Illinois Association of County Engineers, the Federal Highway Administration, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, Illinois Broadcasters Association and the Illinois Municipal League.

The group is scheduled to meet again later this month in the state capital of Springfield, IL, although a date has not yet been announced. State officials indicated that they expect the plan to be approved and implemented yet this year.