May 15, 2017 – Buoyed by its successful participation in the first-ever Illinois Distracted Driving campaign last month, the Oak Park Police Department is planning additional efforts in the coming months to tackle the important safety issue.
From April 24 to 28, the Oak Park Police Department joined law enforcement agencies across the state in performing enforcement missions targeting motorists driving while on their cellphones.
During the campaign Oak Park police officers issued 91 citations for distracted driving and also made two arrests.
“Our police officers enforce distracted driving laws all year, but our goal through this targeted enforcement mission was really to heighten awareness about the dangers of distracted driving,” Oak Park Police Chief Anthony Ambrose said. “If it takes someone getting a citation to make them think twice about breaking the law by using a cellphone while driving, then so be it.”
Ambrose added that Oak Park police are planning additional targeted enforcement missions aimed at distracted drivers this summer.
State law prohibits the use of hand-held cellphones, texting or using other electronic communications while operating a motor vehicle. Hands-free devices or Blue Tooth technology is allowed for persons 19 or older.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 3,477 people were killed and an estimated 391,000 injured nationwide in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers in 2015. The totals represent a nine percent increase in fatalities compared to the previous year.
“When you take your eyes off the road to look at a cellphone, you’re not only putting yourself in danger, but also everyone around you,” Ambrose said. “No text message, phone call or cellphone alert is worth risking your life or the lives of others.”
Information about distracted driving in Illinois is available on the Secretary of State website.