Winnebago County Sheriff’s Office to be out in force during Thanksgiving holiday

Online Staff Report

Police and safety officials in Winnebago County are reminding residents to fasten their seat belts and drive sober over the Thanksgiving holiday, or run the risk of receiving a ticket.

The Winnebago County Sheriff’s Office is joining the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), the Illinois State Police (ISP) and local law enforcement agencies across the state to save more lives by strongly enforcing seat belt and impaired driving laws.

Whether you’re going across town or across the state this Thanksgiving, please make sure everyone in the car is wearing their seat belt,” said Sgt. Paul Lipinski. “As of Jan. 1, 2012, by law in Illinois, everyone must wear a seat belt, no matter what seating position. Our deputies are prepared to ticket anyone who is not wearing a seat belt and arrest those choosing to drive impaired.”

IDOT is proud Illinois has a 94.1 percent daytime seat belt usage rate. However, far too many drivers and passengers still do not buckle up — especially late at night. During the 2013 Thanksgiving holiday weekend in Illinois, seven people lost their lives and 723 motorists were injured in motor vehicle crashes — three of those deaths involved alcohol. Remember, wearing your seat belt is your best defense against an impaired driver.

Our goal is to save more lives, so Winnebago County Sheriff’s deputies will be out enforcing seat belt laws around the clock,” said Sgt. Lipinski. “Additional enforcement will take place late at night when seat belt use is at its lowest and impaired driving is the biggest problem.”

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), seat belts saved more than 12,000 lives nationwide in 2012.

For more about the Click It or Ticket and the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaigns, visit

Posted Nov. 20, 2014

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