With the month of April behind, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's 2018 campaign is also in the rearview mirror. The Daily Journal reported on Illinois law enforcement personnel's efforts to cut down on distracted driving in their issuing of "more than 18,000 warnings and citations" for the offense in 2017.
This year, participating in the NHTSA's annual campaign has kept the efforts front and center. Illinois law forbids the use of handheld mobile devices while driving and imposes a $120 fine for a first-time violation.
Besides the possibilities of getting caught and paying fines, Illinois State Police offer more reasons for not driving while distracted. For starters, using a cell phone when behind the wheel "increases your chance of getting into an accident by 400 percent" and "texting makes you 23 more times likely to crash." The ISP say over 1.6 million accidents that involve drivers not paying attention cause serious injuries or fatalities in the U.S. every year.
What can drivers do to avoid getting distracted?
Every day, hurried employees grab a burger on the run or slurp down a breakfast smoothie on the morning drive. The ISP says eating and drinking can be just as distracting as other tasks, so stop for a meal whenever possible.
If an important phone call comes through, and it is not possible to just let it go into voicemail, pull over. The same applies to texting. Rather than try to manage the steering wheel and phone at once, opt for safety and take care of the communication from a parking lot or other off-road location.
Other suggestions the ISP offer:
- Make needed seat or other adjustments before getting on the road
- Stop to take care of kids' needs rather than try to multi-task
- Take care of personal grooming in mirrors at home and not in the car's rearview one
Law enforcement officials remind drivers to focus on driving whenever they are behind the wheel.