Illinois is observing its first-ever Distracted Driving Awareness Week The Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police and Triple-A created the initiative.
More than 300 law enforcement agencies in the state will focus on violations for distracted driving, including the Town of Normal.
Brian Fengel is an ILACP board officer and Bartonville’s police chief.
“Whether you’re an on-duty police officer or off-duty, you look around you and people are always talking on their cell phones and/or texting. So, it’s out there a lot, and even in your private vehicles you can see it going on,” said Fengel.
The Illinois Secretary of State’s office says nearly 30,000 people were convicted with illegal phone usage while driving last year.
“I mean, you could be going down the road and you see the car in front of you swerving. First of all, you think, ‘Well, that person may be intoxicated or under the influence of something,’ and then you get next to them and find out that they’re texting,” said Fengel.
According to state law, distracted driving usually means illegal use of hand-held devices while driving, whether it’s texting or talking on a cell phone, or changing a music playlist.
Fengel says it’s like the seat belt campaign in Illinois, where the hope is to eventually have more than 90-percent of drivers avoiding those distractions.