Orland Park Police Participate in Month-Long Illinois Distracted Driving Campaign

Orland Park Police Participate in Month-Long Illinois Distracted Driving Campaign
Posted on 04/09/2018

Throughout the entire month of April, the Orland Park Police Department joins with the Illinois Distracted Driving Awareness campaign to enforce Drop It and Drive, reminding motorists that it is illegal to text or use an electronic device while driving.

Illinois' hand-held cellphone ban went into effect in January of 2014 and prohibits hand-held cellphone use while driving. The law only allows for hands-free speakerphone devices that feature voice-activated or one-digit dialing.

"The Drop It and Drive Campaign is a needed reminder in an age where drivers are easily distracted and prone to checking their phones while driving," said Trustee Pat Gira, chair of the village's Public Safety Commission. "Even if drivers aren't actively texting, this serves as a reminder to keep phones on silent and put away. In addition, please remember that it is illegal to be on a cell phone in a school or construction zone."

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 10 people are killed each day in distracted driving crashes, contributing to the 37,000 people killed in crashes on U.S. roadways in 2016.

"As a department, we will do all that we can to make people aware of the serious nature of using cellphones while driving," said Police Chief Tim McCarthy. "These are accidents and fatalities that are 100 percent preventable. We want to reach as many people as we can - from all age groups - to stress that cellphone calls and texts can wait."

Last summer, the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police Traffic Safety Commission recognized the village for its "outstanding performance and dedication during the inaugural year of Illinois Distracted Driving Week." OPPD was among the top 10 agencies in Illinois to receive the award for its distracted driving efforts.

Contrary to what some drivers may think, hands-free, handheld and in-vehicle technologies are not distraction-free, even if a driver's eyes are on the road and their hands are on the wheel. The latest AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety research found that:

  • Drivers who text when behind the wheel more than double their odds of being involved in a crash
  • Drivers who use in-vehicle technologies, like voice-based and touch screen features, can be distracted for more than 40 seconds when completing tasks like programming navigation or sending a text message
  • Removing eyes from the road for just two seconds doubles the risk for a crash

"In Illinois, it is illegal to text and drive and the law prohibits drivers from using a hand-held phone while driving. It is also illegal for teens to use a cell phone while driving, except in an emergency," Chief McCarthy said. "These laws are in place to protect everyone on the road and ensure that your eyes are where they should be at all times."

Last year's Distracted Driving Awareness efforts resulted in over 18,000 warnings and citations statewide for distracted driving offenses.

For more information on Illinois Distracted Driving Awareness campaign visit www.iddaw.org.