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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 2, 2013
Officer Chris Weinbrenner
Addison Police Department
POLICE DEPARTMENT PREPARES FOR DISTRACTED DRIVER AWARENESS MONTH
In an effort to eliminate dangerous behind-the-wheel cell phone use and texting, the Addison Police Department has announced they will conduct high visibility enforcement operations during April.
April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month and the Addison Police Department has a simple message for drivers: Phone in One Hand, Ticket in the Other.
The overall goal of the increased enforcement is to convince drivers of the dangers of distracted driving and reduce the number of people impacted by this risky behavior. The “Don’t Drive In-texicated” theme emphasizes that a phone call in a school or construction zone or texting while driving isn’t worth a hefty fine or a collision.
“In a few short years, distracted driving has grown to be a nationwide traffic safety concern, and we all need to put forth the effort necessary to put an end to it,” said Officer Stephen Oskroba. “The Addison Police Department will be stepping up their efforts to help remind drivers to stay alert when behind the wheel and to not endanger their lives or the lives of others with distractions from mobile devices.”
In recent years, hundreds have been killed and thousands seriously injured in Illinois as a result of collisions that involved at least one driver who was distracted. Nationally, an estimated 3,331 people died in 2011. Any activity that diverts the driver’s attention away from the primary task of driving is distracting, but the recent dramatic rise in cell phone talking and texting has greatly increased the number of collisions.
“No text message or phone call is worth the risk of serious injury—or much worse,” said Officer Oskroba. “Always keep your eyes on the road and hands off your phone while driving.”
The Addison Police Department is committed to ensuring our streets are safe by ticketing anyone found texting while driving. The fine for a first time texting or hand-held cell phone violation in a school or construction zone is $120.
"Enforcement is just one part of this campaign,” said Officer Oskroba. “The larger goal is educating motorists about the dangers of distracted driving and encouraging them to change their behavior behind the wheel. This effort is not about how many citations law enforcement officers can issue, but how many lives are ultimately saved because motorists made the right choice to focus their attention on the road, free of distraction. That is why officers are providing educational sheets from www.distraction.gov to inform motorists why we are conducting these enforcement efforts.”
The first enforcement detail was conducted on March 28, which resulted in officers having contact with 82 people violating these laws and letters being provided to the motorists. Overwhelmingly, the response from the violators was positive as they agreed cell phones are a distraction, not to mention, the appreciation given to the officers by the construction workers in the work zones.
AT&T has just released a survey which indicated 50% of adults text and drive, while 43% of teens text and drive. However, 98% of them acknowledged they are aware texting and driving is illegal, a distraction and continue to commit the violation. Texting while driving increases the risk of a crash 23 times higher than driving while not distracted.