Metro-East News

State cops hike work zone patrols, issue 57 speeding tickets in a day

Illinois State Police covering the metro-east say they started a new program earlier this month that will help the Illinois Department of Transportation catch drivers speeding in construction zones and high-traffic areas.

The “Give ‘Em A Brake Zone” (GABZ) program receives federal and state money to enhance safety throughout work zones, according to IDOT. Trooper Calvin Dye Jr. said the GABZ patrols started in the second week of November.

Dye said several officers head out early during the week to Interstates 64, 55 and 70 and often catch motorists in a rush going to St. Louis or coming to the metro-east. State police say they also often respond to several minor crashes on these interstates or near the bridges due to drivers following too closely or speeding.

State police have described it so far as a “highly successful” program. On Wednesday alone, Dye said state police wrote a total of 57 speeding tickets in an eight-hour period. He said all 57 tickets were issued to drivers going more than 80 mph in a 55 mph speed zone. The most common excuse they gave?

“Running late to work,” Dye said. “For our day shift patrol cars, it’s inevitable. Around 6:30 a.m. you’re going to get calls of crashes in that area.

“I know everyone’s crammed in the morning with kids, getting to school or getting to daycare or work, but we’d really like for people driving over to St. Louis or into Illinois to try to leave a little earlier so you’re not speeding or rushing because if they have an accident, not only will you be late, but you may be out of a lot of money fixing damage to your car,” Dye continued.

Similarly, by around 3:30 p.m., Dye said state troopers will be driving around the interstates monitoring rush hour traffic.

Kaitlyn Schwers: 618-239-2526, @kaitlynschwers