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City Launches High Visibility Safer Roadways Campaign

City of Highland Park Launches High Visibility Safer Roadways Campaign

May 21, 2024 – As part of the City of Highland Park’s focus on combatting dangerous driving, the Police Department will be enhancing traffic safety enforcement throughout Highland Park. Community members should expect to see an increase in traffic stops through the use of a High Visibility Enforcement Campaign (HVE). The primary goal of this campaign is to encourage voluntary compliance. Officers will focus on promoting safer roads by stopping motorists for moving violations. However, officers will issue warnings and citations as appropriate. Hear from Sgt. Brian Soldano about the importance of this public safety and education effort in the video below.

safe system approachThe City endorses a Safe System Approach to traffic safety, supporting the three primary tenets of a comprehensive traffic safety program: education, engineering and enforcement. Recent data, including reports by community members and observations by officers, indicates an increase in dangerous driving in our community and throughout the area.

Dangerous driving behaviors make roadways unsafe for drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians, especially as more pedestrians, including children, increasingly spend time outside as days grow longer. These behaviors include:

  • Driving at speeds above the posted speed limit
  • Disregarding traffic signals or stop signs
  • Aggressive driving, such as tailgating, weaving between lanes, unnecessarily sudden braking, and failure to yield
  • Failure to use directional signals
  • Failure to adjust driving behaviors to road conditions in inclement weather
  • Using cell phones while driving, including at red lights
  • Failure to share the road with pedestrians or bicyclists

Drivers are reminded to ensure all individuals in the vehicle are wearing seatbelts and that children are secured in a car seat or booster seat appropriate for their height and weight, to look both ways to be sure intersections are clear of bicyclists and pedestrians before proceeding, and to abide by the speed limit.

Motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians all share in the responsibility of safely sharing the road and sharing the rules. Drivers should provide at least 3 feet of clearance when passing bicyclists, and bicyclists should adhere to all state laws. Pedestrians should look both ways before crossing the street and take care to wear reflective clothing to ensure visibility. Visit cityhpil.com/sharetheroad to learn more about safety for all roadway users.

Officers focusing on traffic enforcement may use unmarked police vehicles for increased probability of observing traffic problems while patrolling.  At times, drivers may not be sure whether a vehicle attempting to conduct a traffic stop is an official police vehicle. Drivers should follow this procedure to confirm the vehicle is an unmarked police vehicle:

  • Activate the vehicle’s hazard lighting to demonstrate awareness of the officer’s attempt to stop them.
  • Drive to the nearest well-lit or populated area.
  • Call 911 to confirm the officer/stop are legitimate.  
  • Once confirmed, carry on with the stop as with a marked squad car.

This HVE campaign aligns with the City’s Safe System Approach with its emphasis on public education and enforcement, and supports the City’s core priority of Public Safety. This multifaceted approach encourages a culture of traffic safety throughout our community.

The City works to address the three tenets of traffic safety in a number of ways including:

  • Traffic stops are precipitated by dangerous driving behaviors such as those described above.
  • Enforcement efforts are data-driven and are conducted in areas where traffic crashes are most likely to occur and/or in those areas where dangerous driving (speeding, stop sign violations, offenses committed by or against bicyclists etc.) are reported and substantiated.
  • Traffic safety data is captured using a number of methods including officer observation, community reports, Stealth Stat radar speed measurements, crash reporting, traffic counts etc.
  • When staffing permits, the Police Department’s Patrol Division dedicates an officer to traffic enforcement activities in order to concentrate their efforts in areas that the community has determined to need extra enforcement efforts.  The police department maintains a list of areas community members and officers have reported regarding unsafe traffic conditions.  This list is updated based on additional concerns raised by the community or officer observations while conducting enforcement in the area. 
  • The Highland Park Police Department also partners with the Illinois Department of Transportation in the Sustained Traffic Enforcement Program (STEP Grant).  This program is focused on impaired driving, speeding, occupant protection and bicycle safety.
  • The Police Department’s Police Beat Coordinator (PBC) program encourages relationship-building between police, residents and business owners to promote open communication regarding public safety concerns in their designated beats.
  • The Police Department regularly engages in public education at community events and contributes traffic safety messaging to Citywide communications, frequently focused on safely sharing the road.
  • The City’s Traffic Management Committee (TMC) is comprised of members from Civil Engineering, Police, Public Works and City Manager’s Office.  The TMC meets once per month and discusses issues raised by the community, or identified by staff, and discusses ways to address those safety concerns when the data is supported by nationally recognized standards.

The City of Highland Park truly values the safety of our community and is committed to addressing traffic concerns in line with the 10 Shared Principles of Public Safety. The Principles are interwoven throughout all of Highland Park’s public safety initiatives, and promote strong relationships between police and the community through a strong foundation of mutual respect, support, and engagement. All community members play a role in traffic safety.  By taking these steps, we can help each other and successfully provide safer roadways for everyone.

 

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