To the Editor:
This week (April 23-27) marks Illinois’ second annual Distracted Driving Awareness Week – a week when Illinois’ police, safety and transportation organizations will work together to help combat the problem of distracted driving. Each day, 10 people arekilled in distracted driving crashes – contributing to the 37,000 people killed in crashes on U.S. roadways during 2016, according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration.
Many drivers operate on a ‘do as I say, not as I do’ mentality aboutdistracted driving. According to a recent survey by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, nearly 80 percent of drivers believe texting while driving poses a significant danger, yet 35 percent report doing so regularly.
No distraction, whether texting or talking on the phone, is ever worth a loss of life. These senseless deaths can easily be prevented if drivers simply choose to focus on the core task of driving when behind the wheel. During Distracted Driving AwarenessWeek, our organizations will collectively do their part to help keep roads safer by focusing on the three E’s – education, evaluation and enforcement.
Nearly 300 police departments throughout Illinois will be enforcing distracted driving laws. In partnershipwith AAA and the Illinois High School and College Driver Education Association, we will also be in schools and communities educating drivers of all ages about the dangers of distracted driving.
But the most valuable partners in this effort are Illinois drivers. Ample research confirms that taking your hands off the wheel, eyes off the road and mind off driving, radically increases the chances of causing a crash. We’re asking you to put asidethe texting and the cell phone calls and focus on driving. Distracted Driving Awareness Week is the perfect time to engage in safer driving habits for you and everyone else on Illinois’ roads.
Alicia Lyles Chief James Kruger, Oak Brook Police Department
Field Vice President President
AAA – The Auto Club Group Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police
Leo P. Schmitz Randall S. Blankenhorn
Director Illinois Transportation Secretary
Illinois State Police Illinois Department of Transportation
Illinois High School and College Driver Education Association