Wikimedia Commons photo
COLLINSVILLE — Illinois State Police District 11 Commander Timothy Tyler announces his district’s participation in the inaugural Illinois Distracted Driving Awareness Week.
Troopers will give special attention to distracted driving laws the week of April 24-28. A press conference Monday, April 24, at the Illinois State Capitol will kick off the campaign.
Illinois distracted driving laws have been in effect for seven years. Motorists need to be aware of the laws and obey them. This is not just to avoid getting a ticket, but to avoid causing an injury or fatal crash.
The use of wireless telephones for all drivers, regardless of age, while operating a vehicle in a school zone or construction zone is prohibited. Also, state law prohibits the use of electronic communication devices or any other electronic device, to text, email, compose, read or send electronic messages or access internet sites while driving. Violating Illinois’ texting law can be costly. A first violation for this offense is $120 and can increase with multiple violations or when a violation occurs in a work or school zone.
Distracted driving is a nationwide epidemic. Driver inattention is a factor in more than 1 million crashes annually, resulting in serious injuries, deaths and an economic impact that the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety says reaches nearly $40 billion per year. Americans spend about 1 hour and 15 minutes in their vehicles every day. Unfortunately, people often treat this as a time to multitask and take care of other daily activities. If you’re driving your vehicle, you are already multitasking. At a minimum you are operating a vehicle at roadway speed, and you are calculating the distances and the navigation of all other drivers and obstacles around you.
Distracted driving statistics from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety paint a grim picture: In 2015, an estimated 3,477 people were killed. An additional 391,000 were injured in crashes involving distracted drivers. It is clear that distracted driving continues to be a deadly driving hazard.
Texting and driving is a choice that requires motorists to take their eyes off the road, hands off the wheel, and mind off the task of driving. The ISP asks all motorists to “Drop it and Drive” and focus on the task at hand.