The O'Fallon Police Department is running stepped up traffic patrols to try to keep motorists safe during the holiday season.
According to Mayor Gary Graham, the O'Fallon Police Department has launched the first phase of its Sustained Traffic Enforcement Program which will run Nov. 16 through Sunday.
Officers will be looking for impaired drivers, reckless motorists and people who are traveling in cars while not wearing their seat belts, Graham said.
"The O'Fallon Police Department is dedicated to saving lives through the use of these enforcement periods," Graham said. "The ultimate goal of the enforcement is to obtain voluntary compliance of safety belt usage and unimpaired driving by every citizen who drives on the streets of our city."
The STEP program is paid for by a grant from the Illinois Department of Transportation. It is focused on specific times of the year and also on specific times of the day when data shows alcohol-involved and unbuckled traffic crash fatalities are the highest. The increased enforcement details conducted during these times raises the perception of getting caught and deters potential impaired drivers.
According to data from the Illinois Department of Transportation and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the midnight to 3 a.m. time frame is the deadliest time on Illinois roadways, largely because of alcohol-related accidents.
"The numbers do not lie," O'Fallon Police Department Lt. Jim Cavins said. "We will be stepping up our enforcement efforts, making sure impaired drivers are off the road and motorists are buckled up for a safe Thanksgiving holiday. In O'Fallon, the message is simple: Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over and Click It or Ticket."
The city plans to start another phase of STEP enforcement over the Christmas and New Year's Day holiday periods, Graham said.