State police step up efforts to make I-57 safer - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

State police step up efforts to make I-57 safer

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WSIL -- State police have stepped up their effort to make Interstate 57 in Southern Illinois safer for all drivers.

On Tuesday, a 57-year-old man died after a semi truck slammed into his van on I-57 in Williamson County.

State police ticketed the semi-driver for failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident.

Trooper Joey Watson says it's a scene that plays out far too often in our region.

"We've all experienced that pain here in Southern Illinois over the last several months and to be honest with you, we're tired of it," said Watson. "We want to make sure our roadways are safe."

With that in mind, troopers are working on an initiative Watson says actually started this summer.

They're focused on the four most common factors that contribute to deadly crashes, which are distractions, speeding, driving under the influence and not wearing seat belts. 

"These are the big four decisions, people when they make poorly, have the highest repercussions and also the largest percentage that causes crashes in Illinois," said Watson. 

Watson says state police are also focused on semi-trucks, like the one involved in Tuesday's deadly crash.

Troopers are conducting random compliance checks on the semis.

"We're looking for their training to make sure they have the appropriate licensure to make sure they have a Class A, to make sure they're good to operate the vehicle that they're in," said Watson.

Watson says almost every time, the semi driver is in compliance with all laws and regulations.

But given the dangers we've seen on I-57, he said it's better to be safe than sorry.

State police are also cracking down on drivers who don't change lanes and slow down when approaching emergency vehicles with their lights on, as required by state law. 

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