ILLINOIS
Springfield Safe Communities

 

PROJECT CHARACTERISTICS PROGRAM AREA(S)
  Innovative approach
Easy to replicate
  Safe Communities
Occupant Protection
Youth Programs
       
TYPE OF JURISDICTION    
  City    
       
TARGETED POPULATION(S) JURISDICTION SIZE
  Youth
General Population
  112,500


PROBLEM IDENTIFICATION
Illinois has experienced a significant increase in alcohol-related fatal traffic crashes during the past two years. In 1998, of 1,393 total traffic crash fatalities on Illinois roadways, 599 (43 percent) were alcohol-related. This high rate of alcohol-involved crash fatalities is partially attributable to a statewide seat belt use rate of 65 percent, well below the national average. The Illinois Department of Transportation selected the City of Springfield to provide statewide leadership in reducing alcohol-related crash fatalities, and increasing the seat belt use rate.


GOALS AND OBJECTIVES
The Springfield Safe Communities project was developed by the Illinois Department of Transportation, in 1998, to reduce the number of alcohol-related traffic crash fatalities, and increase seat belt use throughout the city and surrounding areas. Specific objectives of the project were to:

  • Educate residents between the ages of 16 and 34 about impaired driving and seat belt use, by distributing safety messages at automobile dealerships, and presenting an impaired driving simulator to teenagers at Springfield area schools
  • Develop a pilot program, with a local taxicab company and local liquor establishments, to provide alternatives to impaired driving
  • Contract with the Springfield Police Department to provide additional enforcement hours in school zones
  • Implement a child safety seat loaner program, sponsor a child safety seat checkpoint event and participate in all other Springfield area checkpoint events
  • Develop and implement a bicycle safety information program and helmet distribution program for students


STRATEGIES AND ACTIVITIES
The Illinois Department of Transportation and Springfield community members collaborated to develop a wide variety of initiatives targeting child safety seat and occupant restraint issues. Representative activities comprising the Springfield Safe Communities program include:

  • Developing a pilot program using traffic cones to reduce speeding within designated school zones
  • Presenting a Bike Rodeo to promote bicycle and helmet safety among Springfield community students
  • Conducting a county health and safety fair for fourth graders, focusing on injury prevention, school bus safety, seat belt use, alcohol/drug awareness and fire safety
  • Implementing a child passenger restraint awareness campaign featuring characters such as Sara Safety and Buckle Bear, along with a child safety seat loaner program for motorists who receive citations for not using child restraints
  • Initiating Operation Alert Cab, which provides taxicab vouchers for local liquor establishments to distribute to impaired patrons


RESULTS
During 1999, the various initiatives of the Springfield Safe Communities program were successful in providing safety information, bicycle helmets and child safety seats to Springfield community residents. Specific results include:

  • More than 500 taxicab rides were provided to Springfield residents through Alert Cab
  • A total of 375 child safety seats were examined at community checkpoints, and the Springfield Child Safety Seat Loaner Program has been so successful that the 3-month loan period has been extended
  • Bicycle safety workshops were held at the Springfield Children's Museum, and 30 free helmets were distributed to needy children
 

FUNDING
  Section 402:
$108,500
CONTACT  
 

John W. Moulton
Illinois Department of Transportation
Division of Traffic Safety
3215 Executive Park Drive
Springfield, IL 62794
(217) 7825853


NATIONAL HIGHWAY TRAFFIC SAFETY ADMINISTRATION

WINTER 2000