Missouri State Higway Patrol, Illinois State Police on lookout

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Click it or ticket.

It's a simple message, but one highway patrol officials hope will save lives this Memorial Day weekend.

Missouri State Highway Patrol and the Illinois State Police are out in force this weekend and will have zero tolerance for seat-belt violations.

"If you don't buckle up, you're going to get a ticket," patrol Sgt. Dale Moreland said.

The second annual Click it or Ticket campaign in Illinois and Missouri began on Monday and runs through June 4, according to an Illinois State Police news release.

"I hope all motorists will wear their seat belts, but for those who don't, I want to drive home the fear of enforcement," Illinois state Capt. Harry Masse said in the release.

Moreland said such a campaign is important in light of the past.

Last Memorial Day weekend in Missouri brought 1,182 crashes in which 11 people died and 583 were injured, averaging someone being hurt or killed every 7.9 minutes.

"We know safety belts save lives and will continue to step up our efforts on enforcement," Illinois Department of Transportation Secretary Timothy W. Martin said in a release from his office.

With the possibility of accidents and more drivers than normal on the roadways, Moreland said more troopers will be on duty. All 85 officers of Troop E, based in Poplar Bluff and covering the 13 counties in Southeast Missouri, were scheduled to be out Friday and Monday, the two busiest travel days of the weekend.

According to AAA spokesman Mike Right, 37.6 million people will be traveling over the weekend, including 31.4 million by car.

"My advice is to drive making time good instead of making good time," Right said. He advised motorists not to overdrive, to take heed of road construction and to allow enough time for possible congestion.

kmorrison@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 127

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