Kane County Law Enforcers to Public: It's Time to Stop Distracted Driving

Kane County Law Enforcers to Public: It’s Time to Stop Distracted Driving

Law enforcers throughout Kane County have united in a groundbreaking, one-week effort to stop distracted driving — one of the leading killers in Kane County and throughout the state of Illinois.

The Kane County Chiefs of Police Association, in partnership with the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police and AAA, is coordinating the first-ever Illinois Distracted Driving Awareness Week from April 24 to April 28 in an effort to bring attention to the dangers and consequences associated with driving distracted.

Pingree Grove Police Chief Shawn Beane

Law enforcers throughout Kane County have committed their resources to distracted driving awareness, including Algonquin, Aurora, Bartlett, East Dundee, Elburn, Geneva, Huntley, Kane County Sheriff’s Office, Montgomery, North Aurora, Pingree Grove, South Elgin, St. Charles, Sugar Grove and West Dundee.

Pingree Grove Police Chief Shawn Beane, president of the KCCPA, said he would rather educate a driver and have compliance than give that person a ticket or respond to a crash.

“It would be hard to believe that every driver on the road hasn’t seen another driver swerve their vehicle due to being distracted by talking, texting, shaving,” he said. “This is plain and simple: Somewhere right now somebody is distracted and going to cause a crash, and every 10 hours someone will die as a result of that distracted driver.”

Some of the statistics are startling:

  • 3,477 people were killed and an estimated 391,000 injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers in 2015. That is a 9 percent increase in fatalities as compared to the previous year.
  • In Kane County alone, there has been an 86 percent increase in motor-vehicle-related deaths in one year.
  • 10 percent of fatal crashes, 15 percent of injury crashes, and 14 percent of all police reported motor vehicle crashes in 2015 were reported as distraction affected crashes.
  • Texting while driving has become an especially problematic trend among millennials. Young drivers, ages 16 to 24, have been observed using handheld electronic devices while driving at higher rates than older drivers since 2007.

Ironically, there’s a kind of double standard when it comes to distracted driving, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. Data indicates that more than eight in 10 drivers believe it completely unacceptable for a motorist to text or e-mail behind the wheel, yet more than a third of those same respondents admitted to reading text messages while driving.

Another disturbing trend, Beane said, is that even as fatalities go up, fewer drivers seem concerned about texting while driving. According to AAA Foundation’s 2015 Traffic Safety Culture Index, 77 percent of motorists believed texting while driving is a problem, down from 96 percent in 2013, a 19-point drop in just two years.

“Texting while driving is more than just a personal risk,” Beane said. “When you text and drive, you become a danger to everyone around you.”

The state and local partnership of law enforcers is unprecedented. The Kane County Chiefs of Police, the ILACP and AAA are supported by the Illinois State Police, SafetyServe.com, the National Safety Council, the Illinois Insurance Association and almost 300 law enforcement/fire agencies and supporters from the private sector throughout Illinois.

You can expect police officers in Kane County to be out in force this week and paying special attention to drivers who are texting or using their cell phones while they drive. Those organizations will work together during this week to educate motorists on all aspects of distracted driving, but the campaign will also include the enforcement of applicable state distracted driving laws, Beane said.

“These partnerships have been formed to help further a traffic safety culture in Illinois and to reduce traffic fatalities and injuries resulting from distracted driving,” he said. “Please help the ILACP, AAA, and Kane County Chiefs of Police, to keep Illinois’ roadways safe and Illinois strong.”

Visit www.kanecountychiefs.org for more information.

SOURCE: Kane County Chiefs of Police news release

The 3 Types of Distraction

Distracted driving isn’t just texting or talking on a cell phone. It can be anything from putting on makeup to reaching for something on the floor of the car to talking with another passenger. Here are three types of distraction, according to the End Distracted Driving website.

  • Manual distractions are those where you move your hands away from the task of controlling the vehicle. Reaching for a soda in the drink carrier is an example of a manual distraction.
  • Visual distractions are those where you focus your eyes away from the road. You drop your soda, and when it spills all over the floor of the car, you look down at your ruined shoes and stained slacks: that’s a visual distraction.
  • A cognitive distraction is when you’re mind wanders away from the task of driving. You start to consider whether you can afford to replace the clothing you just ruined, and what stores have bargains this week, and you’re no longer paying attention to the essential job of driving. Bingo: cognitive distraction.

SOURCE: End Distracted Driving website