The Illinois Department of Transportation is teaming up with the Illinois State Police and more than 200 local law enforcement agencies to promote Distracted Driving Awareness Month, reminding drivers to “Drop it and Drive.” Throughout April, law enforcement officers will work together to enforce texting and distracted-driving laws.
“It has become all too common to see people driving while looking at their phones,” said Steve Travia, IDOT’s Director of Highways and Chief Engineer. “People know texting and driving is dangerous and illegal, but they do it anyway, putting others at risk. This month, drivers will see increased law enforcement efforts, as officers will be stopping and ticketing anyone who is caught texting and driving.”
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than 32,000 people died in distraction-affected crashes from 2011 to 2020. In 2020, there were 3,142 deaths linked to driver distraction, or 8% of all traffic fatalities. Illinois law prohibits the use of hand-held electronic communication devices while driving unless using hands-free mode.
“Last year, the Illinois State Police issued more than 7,200 citations and almost 10,500 warnings for distracting driving. We’ve already issued more than 1,300 citations and 1,900 warnings this year,” said ISP Division of Patrol Deputy Director Col. Margert McGreal. “The most common distracted driving offenses include talking or texting on the phone. Don’t put yourself and others in danger while driving. Buckle up and put the phone down.”
To keep your attention on the road, remember these tips:
- If you are expecting a text or need to send one, pull over and park your car in a safe location.
- Ask your passenger to be your “designated texter.”
- Do not engage in social media scrolling or messaging while driving.
- Cell phone use is habit-forming. Struggling to not text and drive? Activate your phone’s “Do Not Disturb” feature.
Using a mobile phone while driving is dangerous and getting caught can be expensive. Save your money and maybe even a life – wait until you reach your destination to text or call.