Distracted Driving Awareness Week underway
Illinois State Police District 22 is planning to participate in the April 24-28 observance of the inaugural Illinois Distracted Driving Awareness Week.
Plans for participation in the week were announced by Lt. Michael Alvey. Alvey is the interim commander of District 22. Union County is in the district.
Illinois State Police troopers will be giving special attention to distracted driving laws this week.
A press conference was planned Monday, April 24, at the Illinois State Capitol in Springfield to kick off the awareness campaign. Illinois distracted driving laws have been in effect for seven years.
State police noted that 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, the use of electronic communication devices or any other electronic device, to text, e-mail, compose, read or send electronic messages or access internet sites while driving a motor vehicle is prohibited.
Violating Illinois’ texting law can be costly. A first violation for the offense is $120 and can increase with multiple violations or when a violation occurs in a work or school zone.
Authorities note that 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 one hour and 15 minutes in their vehicles every day.
Unfortunately, the state police stated, people often treat this as a time to mult-task and take care of other daily activities.
Those who are driving already are multi-tasking. At a minimum, motorists are operating a vehicle at roadway speed, and they 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 motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers.
Texting while 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.
State police ask all motorists to “Drop it and Drive” and focus on the task at hand.