Circuit Clerk’s office processes six-year high in traffic tickets

A lead foot by motorists led to another hike in the number of traffic tickets written in Clinton County in 2015.

Clinton County Circuit Clerk Rod Kloeckner reports that his office processed 2,788 traffic citations in 2015, a six-year high. The previous high came in 2009, when 2,828 tickets were issued by local, county and state law-enforcement officers.

Last year’s total was 212 more tickets than were written in 2014, when the circuit clerk’s office filed 2,576. Kloeckner said there was little down time in his traffic division the past two years.

“It’s been remarkably steady,” Kloeckner said. “There were no let ups. Each day, it seemed, we were getting bundles of tickets from one or more of our local agencies.”

Kloeckner said traffic tickets derive from the 10 local municipalities that have police departments in Clinton County – Carlyle, Breese, Trenton, Aviston, Germantown, New Baden, Albers, Beckemeyer, Centralia and Wamac – along with the Clinton County Sheriff’s Department and the Illinois State Police.

Due to the sheer number of tickets – specifically, speeding citations – Kloeckner said it’s obvious police have stepped up their efforts to deter speeders. Of the 2,788 traffic tickets written, 1,153 were issued for speeders.

“That’s over 40 percent of the tickets,” Kloeckner said. “Based on what I’ve seen the past two years, I think it would behoove drivers to obey the speed limit. It was an across-the-board effort by all agencies.”

Kloeckner said the most cited charge was driving 15-20 mph above the speed limit. Officers wrote 707 tickets for that offense, 106 more than in 2014. The next four most-cited traffic charges were operating an uninsured motor vehicle (353), driving 21-25 mph above the speed limit (294), driving on a suspended license (167) and failure to reduce speed (115).

The agency that wrote the most speeding tickets was the Clinton County Sheriff’s Department with 405. The department significantly stepped up its speeding patrols, as it issued 323 more speeding citations than it did in 2014.

Following the sheriff’s department was Trenton with 296, the Illinois State Police (233), Aviston (95), New Baden (57), Breese (24), Carlyle (23), Albers (17), Germantown (16) and Centralia (5). Wamac and Beckemeyer each issued one speeding ticket.

Since 2000, the most traffic tickets written in a single year was 2002, when 5,093 were issued.

Other traffic notes of interest:

  • Kloeckner said after the top five, the next two most-cited traffic charges were driving without  a license (110) and illegal use of a electronic communication device (104).
  • DUI charges (driving under the influence) saw another increase. Officers issued 100 DUIs, up 10 from 2014. The Clinton County Sheriff’s Department issued the most DUIs with 44, followed by Breese (24), Albers (17) and Carlyle (16).
  • More people are buckling up. There were 91 seat belt tickets issued for either a driver or a passenger in 2015, down 55 from last year when 146 were issued.
  • Five individuals were ticketed for a pedestrian under the influence of drugs or alcohol, the most in over 20 years.

All told, Kloeckner said his office processed 4,647 filings in all the case categories, an increase of 260 from 2014.  He said 14 of the 22 criminal and civil case categories had an increase in the number of cases filed. The biggest increase was in orders of protection. There were 105 OPs filed, 46 more than last year

There were 185 felony (CF) cases filed, down seven from last year. There were 314 misdemeanors (CM) filed, 10 more than in 2014. Other criminal case categories included conservation (CV) with 106 and ordinance violations (OV) with 30.

Cases filed on the civil side included nine adoptions (AD), 60 chancery (CH), 105 dissolutions (D), 47 family (F), one juvenile (J), 15 juvenile neglect and abuse (JA), 64 juvenile delinquent (JD), 34 law (L), 97 law magistrate (LM), one mental health (MH), 146 miscellaneous remedy (MR), 84 probate (P), 320 small claim (SC) and 36 tax cases (TX).