ILLINOIS (WIFR) - Illinois emergency responders are reminding families to keep safety in mind when celebrating this Memorial Day weekend.
The Illinois Department of Transportation has one of the highest rates in the country when it comes to seat belt usage, sitting at 93.6 percent. Yet in 2012, almost 1,000 people died in car accidents and were not wearing seat belts.
"Even with nine out of ten motorists buckling up, far too many people are dying unbuckled," said IDOT Secretary Ann Schneider in a press release. "That is why we are working with the state police to ensure that everyone is wearing a seat belt."
Illinois State Police say they have four types of drivers in mind they'll be looking for this weekend.
"Our goal this weekend is to enforce safety belt compliance, remove impaired drivers, stop speeders and nab distracted drivers before tragedy strikes," ISP Director Hiram Grau said in a press release.
Other than driving, last year, alcohol was a factor in the case of five fatal boating-related accidents as well.
"Fastening a flotation device takes just seconds but that action can save the rest of your life," said Illinois Conservation Police Chief Rafael Gutierrez in a press release.
Grilling outdoors is also a popular pasttime over Memorial Day weekend. Illinois State Fire Marshal Larry Matkaitis has some tips on following the proper safety procedures:
- Check that your grill is free of grease and fat buildup.
- Before using any barbecue, check it for leaks, cracks or brittleness.
- Make sure the grill is placed outdoors, away from the home, deck railings, overhanging branches and other hazardous areas.
- Never use any flammable liquid to start a fire other than lighting fluid. Never squirt fluid directly into a flame.