Make The Right Choices This Thanksgiving: Buckle Up and Drive Sober

State and local authorities will be extra vigilant this Holiday travel season.
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Submitted by IDOT and Whiteside County Sheriff John Booker

The Illinois Department of Transportation, Illinois State Police and local law enforcement agencies throughout Illinois are reminding motorists to buckle up and drive sober this Thanksgiving holiday. Unfortunately, some motorists and their passengers will travel without ever buckling their seat belts, which drastically increases the chance of injury or death if they’re involved in a crash.

“Whether you’re traveling a few blocks or several hundred miles, remember to always wear your seat belt and plan for a sober ride home,” said Cynthia Watters, IDOT’s bureau chief of Safety Programs and Engineering. “Too frequently, law enforcement sees the tragic results of driving impaired and not wearing a seat belt, both of which are the leading causes of deaths on our roads and easily preventable.”

Proper seat belt use is the single most effective way to save your life in a crash, which is why ISP and local law enforcement agencies are teaming up with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration through Nov. 28 for the Click It or Ticket high-visibility enforcement campaign. During the 2021 Thanksgiving holiday weekend, 12 people were killed in motor vehicle related crashes in Illinois, four of which were drug/alcohol related.

“Wearing your seat belt is second nature for most,” said Whiteside County Sheriff John F. Booker. “We’re looking for the 7% of Illinois motorists who skip this lifesaving step.”

Drivers and passengers can expect a ticket from Whiteside County Sheriff Officers if they are spotted without a seat belt.

“The day before Thanksgiving, sometimes called Blackout Wednesday, we often see college students returning home for the holiday and going out to drink with friends,” said ISP Director Brendan F. Kelly. “It is also an evening we see many drunk drivers. It’s simple: If you’re going to drink, don’t drive.”

Sheriff Booker added these reminders:

  • Plan for a sober ride home before you go out.
  • If you’ve been drinking or using marijuana or other drugs, call a taxi, take mass transit, or call a family member to get you home safely.
  • Use your favorite ride-share service, such as Uber or Lyft, or use public transportation.
  • If you see a drunk driver, pull over safely and call 911.
  • Make sure everyone in your vehicle wears their seat belt. It is the best defense against an impaired driver.

This Thanksgiving, you can make all law enforcement officers jobs simpler and, more importantly, safer by driving sober and buckling up.

The Click it or Ticket campaign is administered by IDOT with federal traffic safety funds. The effort coincides with IDOT’s “It’s Not a Game” radio, digital and TV campaign that reminds motorists of the consequences of impaired driving as well as distracted driving, work zone safety, pedestrian safety, motorcycle awareness and occupant safety. Visit for more information.

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