CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- Chicago police are stepping up traffic patrols and enforcement this holiday weekend with a particular focus on speeding, which has been an issue since the arrival of COVID-19.
Chicago Police Commander Sean Loughran said while there are fewer drivers on the roads because of COVID-19 restrictions, there's a higher risk of deadly accidents. And in April, the National Safety Council announced there had been a 14% jump nationally in speeding at the start of the quarantine.
"Particularly in Illinois, we have had an 11% increase in traffic fatalities," Loughran said.
Loughran said a major reason for the increase is with less congestion on the roads, some drivers are speeding and that increases the risk of deadly crashes.
He said that's why police will be especially focused on speeding this holiday weekend, though he said officers will also be looking for drunk drivers and people who aren't buckled up.
Police are also teaming up with alderman to scout out and stop motorcyclists who are speeding, drag racing and riding recklessly. Alderman Brian Hopkins (2nd) said the noise generated by motorcyclists who are racing around various parts of the city is a growing nuisance, but he said the reckless riding is also dangerous for drivers and pedestrians.
Hopkins said that's why he backed an ordinance to give police technology to track dangerous riders along one of their favorite places to race: Lake Shore Drive.
"[The technology] will have a heads-up notice for when these motorcyclists are starting their activities," the alderman said. "There are some other tactics that this detail and this mission will be using that we don't want to talk about publicly. I'd rather surprise the motorcycle offenders and have them find out about it when they are brought to justice and their motorcycles are impounded."
Hopkins said these efforts will help police catch and stop reckless motorcycle riders before they create dangerous situations on the roads.