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Palos Park Police Department's Safety Information for Automobiles

Back to Safety Information

 

Palos Park Police want you to Be A Buckle Buddy!

Be A Buckle Buddy! is a public service program featuring a toll-free, statewide, hotline that allows any concerned individual to anonymously report unbuckled children in Illinois.

Be A Buckle Buddy! is non-punitive. Reported drivers will receive an informative packet filled with Safe Kids and child passenger safety information, along with a copy of current Illinois child passenger safety laws.

To report an unrestrained child in Illinois please call: 1-888-800-2642
 

Palos Park Police Department Reminds Everyone to Drive Safely This Holiday Season

Palos Park Police Commissioner Dan Polk reminds everyone that with the holidays upon us, the Palos Park Police Department wants everyone to arrive safely at their destinations. Polk said, “If you are planning to travel by car to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday with family and friends, make sure you and everyone riding with you buckles their safety belts or is secured in a proper child restraint. If you have been drinking, designate a sober driver,”

“No one wants to start the holidays off wrong with a safety belt ticket or a DUI arrest, save your money for turkey and buying presents for loved ones – don’t throw it away simply because you failed to buckle up or you were driving impaired,” Polk said

The Illinois Department of Transportation’s Division of Traffic Safety (IDOT/DTS) is proud that Illinois has a 92.6% daytime safety belt usage rate. Nationally more people are buckling up; however, 45 million Americans still fail to buckle up when they are in a motor vehicle.

In Illinois, during the Thanksgiving holiday period in 2009, 12 vehicle occupants died in motor vehicle traffic crashes and five of those deaths involved a drinking driver. More than 800 were injured in similar incidents. NHTSA statistics also show that those least likely to buckle up are teens, young adults, males, nighttime riders, motorists traveling on rural roads and individuals traveling in pickup trucks, especially during the late night hours.

Data shows late-night hours are when the highest percentage of motorists die in alcohol-involved crashes and the lowest percentage of vehicle occupants are properly restrained. Wearing a safety belt costs you nothing, but not wearing it could cost you a ticket or worse…your life.

“We want all drivers and passengers to Click It or Ticket, day and night—and remember, You Drink & Drive. You Lose.” Chief Joe Miller added.

Palos Park Police Department Winter Driving Tips Don’t Crowd the Plow
The Village of Palos Park is reminding the motoring public that during winter storms, snowplows work around the clock to make roads passable. These large vehicles can present a hazard for drivers who follow too closely. Observe these tips to stay safe while giving snowplow operators room to do their jobs.

Keep well back from snowplows
Plow drivers can't see directly behind their trucks. Sometimes they must stop or back up. Staying a safe distance behind a snowplow will protect you from possible injury and protect your car from sanding material that plows spread on slick roadways.

Know where the snowplow is on the roadways
The plow could be in either lane, or on the shoulder. Watch for snowplows on ramps and turnaround areas.

Never drive through a snow cloud or whiteout conditions
You can't be sure if such conditions are caused by crosswinds or by a snowplow, so be patient. Village of Palos Park snowplow operators periodically pull over to allow traffic to pass.

Distance: Give snowplows room to work. The plows are wide and can cross the centerline or shoulder. Don’t tailgate and try not to pass. If you must pass, take extreme caution and beware of the snow cloud.

Speed: Snowplows travel below the posted speed limit. Be patient. Allow plenty of time to slow down. Remember, Ice and Snow, Take it Slow.

Vision: A snowplow operator’s field of vision is restricted. You may see them, but they don’t always see you. Keep your distance and watch for sudden stops or turns.

Village of Palos Park snowplow operators are extremely safety-conscious, but they need your help. Stay back and let them safely do their job of clearing the road for you.

 

BEAT AUTO THEFT  

Palos Park Police Commissioner John Mahoney, has announced that Palos Park officers are offering a new program which could become a major deterrent to auto theft.  The new program, which is in conjunction with the Illinois Secretary of State, is referred to as B.A.T. (Beat Auto Theft). 

The B.A.T. program is an auto theft prevention program that alerts police that your vehicle is not normally  driven between the hours of 1AM and 5AM.  There is a B.A.T. decal that is given to the resident and is placed in the vehicle’s rear windshield (lower corner on the driver’s side).  If Police officers observe any vehicles with the B.A.T. decal during this time, they will be stopped and the officer will request a valid drivers license and registration to verify ownership.   

Police Commissioner Mahoney reports, “The B.A.T. program has been very successful in New York, Texas, and Virginia and it is hoped that the program will also be a success in Illinois.  B.A.T. is one way to reduce auto theft and hopefully it will have an impact on auto theft.” 

Residents are also encouraged to park smart:  close all windows, take keys out, lock the doors, and whenever possible, try to park in well-lit areas. 

Any Palos Park resident interested in participating in the B.A.T. program is encouraged to come into the police station and fill out an application form, or call the Police Chief, Joe Miller at 671-3770.  There is a $5.00 charge for the B.A.T. decal which helps fund the B.A.T. program.

 

DEER SEASON & DRIVING

Deer become more active in the fall and because of it, drivers should be more alert than ever when out on the road. Deer pose a potentially dangerous threat to themselves and the occupants of vehicles traveling along roadways in The Palos Area, especially during October and November.

As the deer breeding season approaches, deer will have a lot of things to distract them. Deer activity increases and movement peaks each day near dawn and just after dusk.

Here are some things drivers can do to try to avoid deer-vehicle accidents:

  • When driving near woodlots, creeks, or where crops are still standing, especially during evening or early morning, reduce your speed and watch for deer.
  • When you spot a deer, assume there will be others in the same area, either ahead of or behind the one you have seen.
  • Be prepared to stop suddenly.
  • Many places where deer are known to travel are posted with deer crossing signs, but the absence of a sign does not mean a deer will not unexpectedly appear.
  • Deer often seem to be disoriented or confused by headlights. Some react by freezing in the light, some dart into the path of the vehicle, others bolt away in the opposite direction. Sometimes deer that have just crossed the road ahead of the vehicle suddenly change direction and run back into the path of a vehicle or collide with it.
  • Honk your horn and flash your headlights to frighten deer away from the side of the road. If there is other traffic on the road, you can activate your emergency flashers and tap your brakes to alert other drivers to the potential danger.
  • Anticipate the possibility of a deer unexpectedly crossing in front of you and plan ahead to avoid swerving, turning or braking the vehicle too sharply if a deer suddenly appears.
 

HIGHWAY SAFETY LAWS

Zero tolerance: A person under the age of 21 who has a blood alcohol concentration higher than 0.00 but less than 0.08 will have their driving privilege suspended.

Transportation of alcohol in a motor vehicle: No driver or passenger may transport, carry, or possess any alcohol within the passenger area except in the original container with the seal unbroken, (however no person under the age of 21 may possess any amount of alcohol).

Reckless driving: It is unlawful for a person to drive any vehicle with a willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property.

Drag racing: A person convicted of drag racing is guilty of a misdemeanor and shall have their license revoked.

Operation of motor vehicle: No person shall operate any motor vehicle in such a manner as to cause or allow to be emitted squealing, screeching or other such noise from the vehicle’s tires due to rapid acceleration or excessive speed around corners or other such reason.

Licenses issued to drivers: For a person less than 17 years of age, the license shall be invalid during the times the license is prohibited on the street in violation of curfew.

Curfew: It is unlawful for a person less than 17 years of age to be at or upon any public assembly, place, street or highway between the times listed except when in the company of a responsible adult. The times are between 12:01 a.m. and 6:00 a.m. on Saturdays, Sundays, and between 11:00 p.m. on Sunday to Thursday, inclusive, and 6:00 a.m. on the following day.

Senate Bill 58: Teen Passenger Restriction—This new law provides that a person under the age of 18, who receives a graduated driver’s license, may not drive with more than one person in the vehicle who is under the age of 20 during the first six months of their license or until the person reaches the age of 18, whichever occurs sooner, unless an adult is present. Exceptions to this passenger restriction are provided for siblings, stepsiblings, children and stepchildren of the driver.

Senate Bill 50: Seat Belt Usage —This new law now enables officers to stop vehicles solely on the basis of a seat belt violation. All drivers and passengers (front and backseat) must wear their seat belt. In addition, any child under the age of 8 must be in a booster seat.

 

 
PROTECT YOURSELF FROM AN IMPAIRED DRIVER

The Palos Park Police Department would like to offer the following tips to protect you and your family from impaired drivers:

  • Drive defensively—Be alert to potential danger on the highways.
  • Wear your seat belt. Insist that others in your car buckle up. Use proper restraints for children younger than eight years old. Using your seat belt is the best defense against a drunk driver.
  • Educate teenage drivers and younger children about the effects of drinking and driving. Talk to them about what they should do if they find themselves with a driver who is under the influence. Encourage them to refuse rides with any driver under the influence and to call home for a ride if they or their friends are under the influence and unable to drive.
  • Set an example for your children on the safe and responsible use of alcohol.
  • If you drink, plan ahead and designate a non-drinking driver.
  • Be a responsible host. Serve food and have nonalcoholic drinks available. Don’t let your guests drive after drinking alcohol and never serve alcohol to someone under the age of 21.
  • Report suspected impaired drivers to the police by dialing 9-1-1. Make sure to get the license plate number, description of the vehicle, and the direction in which it was traveling. Keep a safe distance from anyone driving erratically and do not try to intervene yourself.

Driving is a privilege, not a right…Please drive safely.

 

UNDERSTANDING DUI’S IN ILLINOIS 
By Michael F. Carroll, Attorney-at-Law
Legal Affairs Officer, Palos Park Police
 

More litigated than perhaps any other criminal or traffic matter in Illinois, DUI’s have become a very complex and misunderstood segment of our Criminal Code.  Crossing boundaries between civil law and criminal law, misdemeanor and felony, this offense (or group of offenses) has grown as our political and social climates have changed. 

DUI (or Driving Under the Influence) replaced the previous charge (in many states) of Driving While Intoxicated (DWI).  No longer does the States Attorney need to prove that a motorist is intoxicated.  Now, the State need only show that the motorist is operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or a combination thereof. 

A police officer, who suspects a motorist of being Under the Influence, after stopping the motorist for a traffic violation, typically requests the motorist to perform standardized Field Sobriety Testing.  These tests often consist of walking a straight line, standing on one leg and taking a portable roadside breathalyzer, among other tests.  The motorist has the right to refuse to participate in the roadside tests.  Currently, there is no statutory penalty for refusing to take these tests. 

If the officer decides to arrest the motorist, the arrestee is transported to a police station.  The officer reads the arrestee what is known as a Warning to Motorist, explaining to the person the consequences of taking or refusing a breathalyzer, or other chemical tests at the police station or a hospital.  For a first time offense, if the motorist refuses to take the breathalyzer or other chemical test (blood or urine), his or her driver’s license is automatically suspended for a minimum of six months.  That suspension begins on the 46th day following the arrest, which gives the motorist’s attorney a time period to challenge the suspension in court.  A first time offender who takes the breathalyzer and fails, loses his license for a minimum of three months.  A breath alcohol reading of 0.08 or more is considered a failure. 

The statutory suspension of one’s driver’s license is enhanced for someone with a previous DUI.  A failure of chemical testing results in a minimum one year suspension, and a refusal to take the test brings about a minimum three year suspension.  The automatic suspension (known as the Statutory Summary Suspension) is civil in nature, and is between the motorist and the Secretary of State.  Assuming there are no other violations affecting the motorist’s license, when the statutory time period has expired (three months to three years), as long as the motorist pays a reinstatement fee, his  license will once again become valid.    

DUI law has become increasingly complex over the last ten to twenty years.  DUI law is easily the most complex area of law, at least in the misdemeanor category, in Illinois.

 

 


8999 West 123rd Street
Palos Park, IL 60464
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NON-EMERGENCY POLICE RESPONSE (708) 448-2191
POLICE BUSINESS (708)448-0639 or (708)671-3770
9:00 AM to 8:00 PM, Monday
9:00 AM to 5:00 PM, Tuesday-Friday

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