|The Illinois State Police has recognized McDonough County area organizations that played key roles in making the roadways in McDonough County the safest they have been in more than fifty years, as traffic crash fatalities for 2009 in McDonough County were kept at zero. During 2009, McDonough County was one of only 15 counties throughout Illinois with zero traffic crash fatalities. Representatives from the organizations in attendance were presented with certificates of appreciation in recognition of their contribution in achieving this historic milestone.
Research conducted with the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) revealed that it has been more than fifty years, since McDonough County has had zero traffic crash fatalities. IDOT records, with data going back as far as 1958, confirmed that McDonough County has had traffic crash fatalities every year since 1958, with the exception of 2009. Previously from 1958 to 2008 the year with the lowest number of traffic crash fatalities in McDonough County was 1960 with one fatality. During this same period in McDonough County there were two years, 1966 and 1975, which accounted for the highest number of fatalities, in each of these years 16 people were killed as a result of fatal traffic crashes. For the entire period from 1958 to 2009, 374 people were killed on the roadways of McDonough County in fatal traffic crashes.
Provisional data from IDOT also indicated that during 2009 only 15 of the 102 counties in Illinois had zero traffic crash fatalities, which was up from only seven counties with zero in 2008. The 15 counties in 2009 with zero traffic crash fatalities include: Bond, Brown, Calhoun, Crawford, Edwards, Hamilton, Jasper, Lawrence, McDonough, Mercer, Morgan, Putnam, Saline, Scott, and Wayne.
During 2009, in ISP District 14 there were 15 fatal crashes, resulting in 17 fatalities. By county these fatal traffic crashes and traffic crash fatalities included: six crashes and eight fatalities in Fulton, five crashes and five fatalities in Hancock, three crashes and three fatalities in Warren, one crash and one fatality in Henderson, and zero in McDonough. Of these fatalities 33 percent of the victims were not wearing a seat belt, during crashes where seat belt use was known or required. In these crashes, 50 percent of those unrestrained victims were ejected from the vehicle. Of these 15 fatal crashes 40 percent were related to excessive speed, 53 percent were alcohol related, and 27 percent were related to improper lane usage.
McDonough County organizations contributed greatly to this traffic safety milestone in a variety of ways such as public awareness and education, enforcement and prosecution, prevention and mitigation, which have now been proven to make a difference. Public awareness and education has increased as the ISP District 14 Safety Education Office has partnered with McDonough District Hospital, McDonough County Health Department, Macomb Fire Department, State Farm, Monsanto, McDonough County High Schools, McDonough County News Media Outlets, and IDOT in bringing traffic safety messages and education to McDonough County residents on relevant topics such as motorcycle safety, proper child safety seat use, proper seat belt use, DUI prevention, school bus safety, Scott's Law, zero tolerance, bicycle safety, Operation Teen Safe Driving, and the Fatal Five.
The enforcement and prosecution efforts of ISP District 14, McDonough County law enforcement agencies, and the McDonough County States Attorney has aggressively targeted traffic violations known to be contributing factors in fatal traffic crashes. Focusing on the Fatal Five violations of speeding, failure to wear safety belts, improper lane usage, following too closely, and driving under the influence has no doubt contributed to this fatality reduction. Law enforcement agencies in McDonough County have incorporated many different enforcement strategies such as saturation patrols, roadside safety checks, seatbelt enforcement zones, alcohol counter measures enforcement, occupant restraint enforcement patrols, campus/tap patrols, and special traffic enforcement patrols with the goal to save lives and increase voluntary compliance with traffic laws known to contribute to fatal traffic crashes. Vigorously pursuing prosecution of offenders in McDonough County certainly has contributed to zero traffic crash fatalities through increasing voluntary compliance and removing unsafe drivers from the roadways.
Prevention and mitigation of traffic crashes that otherwise may have resulted in a fatality within McDonough County has been greatly contributed to by organizations such as: McDonough County Highway Department, Municipal Public Works Agencies, IDOT, McDonough District Hospital, EMS Agencies, Ambulance Services, Lifeflight, AirEvac, McDonough County Fire Departments, Emergency Dispatch Services, Child Safety Seat Advocates, Drivers Education Instructors, and ISP District 14 Safety Education. The prevention of traffic crashes and traffic crash fatalities as well as the mitigation of them when they occur can be attributed to many factors some of which include the engineering, construction, and maintenance of our roadways which can increase the safety of everyone using the roadways. Prevention may also include the proper instruction of new drivers which builds safe driving habits early on. Mitigation may also include the reduction in the severity of injuries through the proper use of seat belts and child safety seats. The mitigation of injuries resulting from traffic crashes by early intervention of medical service personnel has saved countless lives and certainly contributed to zero traffic crash fatalities in McDonough County.
The Illinois State Police with the recognition of McDonough County's historic milestone in fatal traffic crash reduction encourages communities to recognize that saving lives on our roadways is a team effort that can be achieved and challenges other communities to do the same.
Organizations from the McDonough County area that contributed to this historic milestone and were recognized included but were not limited to: Illinois State Police, McDonough County Sheriff's Office, Macomb Police Department, Bushnell Police Department, Colchester Police Department, Blandinsville Police Department, Macomb Fire Department, Bushnell Fire Department, Colchester Fire Department, Volunteer Fire Departments, Volunteer EMS Agencies, McDonough District Hospital, Lifeflight, AirEvac, Ground and Air Ambulance Services, Drivers Education Instructors, McDonough County States Attorney, Dispatch Services, Public Works Agencies, Health Department, and Child Restraint Advocates.
(Illinois State Police)