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Print

DOT leaving road kill to rot

May 25, 2008 at 08:41 AM

PEORIA —

In a hurry? Taillight out? Seat belt off?

Watch yourself.

You may be more likely to get picked up this Memorial Day weekend than the dead deer rotting on Illinois’ highways. Perhaps for the same reason - public budgets are crunched.

A couple of weeks ago, I thought both of these things were my imagination. It seemed there were an awful lot of dead animals on the side of the road. Nobody seemed to be cleaning up. Then it seemed like there were an awful lot of cops on the road. And they did seem to be cleaning up, writing tickets in every direction.

As it turns out, seeming is believing. The imaginary dead deer were real. The Illinois Department of Transportation has confirmed some workers have been kept in the maintenance yards since May 1. Lousy winter weather meant the state spent $85 million for snow and ice removal instead of the $40 million it had budgeted. High gas prices haven’t helped, so they’re cutting back to save money.

Officially, IDOT spokesmen say they are careful not to compromise public safety. Officially, large roadkill is being picked up. Apparently, large deer are not large enough. There’s one on Illinois Route 8 west of Oak Hill that’s pretty much down to a rib cage and a head after three weeks of (thankfully, cold) weather. The technical term is “gross.” One can hardly wait for July.

As it turns out, the imaginary ultra-picky police officers may be real, as well. Locally, Click It-or-Ticket and DUI crackdowns already have been announced. Statewide, Illinois State Police Master Sgt. Brian Ley says the number of tickets from January through April has risen from 167,466 last year to 169,578 this year. (Ley says District 8 numbers have dropped over that same time, from 6,537 to 5,121.) Countrywide, the National Motorists Association says requests for help with traffic tickets recently hit the highest level in a decade.

“The phone has been ringing like crazy,” says NMA communications director Aaron Quinn. “It’s always: ‘I got an unfair speeding ticket. What can I do to fight this?’ “

Well, you could drive the speed limit, for starters. But as Quinn points out, most people don’t. They feel ticket-proof going five or seven miles over the limit. They shouldn’t.

“With the budgets of local governments across the country stretched extremely thin, many cities have turned to traffic enforcement as a way to add a quick influx of cash,” the NMA says. “Traffic stops that previously would have resulted in a warning are now leading to tickets that are costing drivers hundreds of dollars.”

My condensed version of the group’s advice boils down to three areas: First, don’t drive like an idiot. No tailgating, no swerving, no road rage. Be alert. And if you’re bound and determined to speed in unfamiliar territory, check http://www.speedtrap.org.

Second, be smart. When you are pulled over, be polite. Sign the ticket, but admit to nothing. Take notes to help you in court - time, weather, road conditions, signs, officer’s name, etc.

Third, plead not guilty. That’s your only leverage to negotiate. Then do some research on how to defend yourself in court. Stick it out, and remember the officer must be there, too. For more information, check http://www.motorists.org.

“If enough people do this, it will become unprofitable for them to have these big surges,” Quinn says. “Then they’ll go back to enforcing for safety.”

In the meantime, watch your back. And your front. And the sides.

Your CommentsComments :: Terms :: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

how sad is this..?

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 05/25 at 09:43 AM

Blagovich is an idiot

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 05/26 at 08:42 AM

So much for keeping our state nice and clean.  I noticed they are not mowing the roadways either.

If I have to drive the speed limit so should the police.  They break the rules just as much if not more than the ordinary citizen.  There is no reason they have to drive 80mph just to meet their buddies to eat at a local truck stop.  I’ve seen it several times.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 05/27 at 07:29 AM

Oust the Govenor before the state becomes like a third world country!

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 05/27 at 08:26 AM

Give Rod a break, -gassin’ up the chopper cost a lot these days!

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 05/27 at 08:57 AM

I’m not defending our wonderful Govenor or the laziness of IDOT but I have a solution to the roadkill problem.  If a person hits an animal it should be their problem to take care of.  Maybe then people would slow down on the roads.  That might result in fewer tickets and less road kill.  Man I should run for Govenor.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 05/27 at 10:42 AM

Brad is right…. since when did people become so freakin dependant on the government to fix all of our problems? Thats the biggest problem.  Its a freaking deer on the road!!! I will take lower taxes and more personal responsibility anyday over relying on the government to fix problems. A word of advise to any illinois taxpayer… Don’t give extra money for Conservation license plates, hunting programs, or anything that involves taking more money out of your pocket. Look what they have done to social security, medicare, and the federal deficit… ALL three are failing!!!! give me liberty or give me death.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 05/27 at 06:14 PM

Amen B,  surely can’t depend on our government.  Hell our State Government is a freakin joke.  Blagos a major joke.  I won’t give him anymore money than I have to. Conservation Plates, only place that money is going to is raises for all our so called leaders of this state.  You know the guy who says he is all for you then does a 360 once elected.  The guy who is making 150K a year then wants more money for doing his job.  My suggestions are lets leave all our leaders a nice stinky dead deer on their front lawn and remind them that us taxpayers of Illinois pay their salary and with the price of gas and food the extra money should come back to us so we can survive.  Recall Blago and his boys!!!!!!!!!!  Lets take this state back…..

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 05/27 at 10:41 PM

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