Illinois State Police work to curb distracted driving

Illinois State Police work to curb distracted driving
Illinois State Police distracted driving related statistics. (Source: Ryan Bolinger, KFVS)
Illinois State Police distracted driving related statistics. (Source: Ryan Bolinger, KFVS)

CARTERVILLE, IL (KFVS) - Troopers with the Illinois State Police (ISP) are working to curb distracted driving related crashes in the state.

The Perry County Sheriff's Office reports a recent crash that that sent five high school students to the hospital was a result of distracted driving.

More than 11,000 distracted driving related crashes have been reported each year in Illinois since 2010, according to the ISP.

AAA reports that more than 1.6 million distracted driving crashes happen in North America each year.

ISP District 13 Public Information and Safety Education Officer Trooper, Joey Watson, said much can be done to curb these types of crashes.

"We're connected 24/7. So when the phone dings, it's your instant action to pick it up," Watson said. "This is our problem. How are we going to address this as a society. Here, locally in Southern Illinois. So, it goes back to making good choices."

An Illinois law banning cell phone usage while driving took effect in January of 2014.

The ISP has several tips to avoid being a distracted driver:
Limit interaction with passengers, avoid talking while driving, avoid taking your eyes off the road and keep both hands on the wheel.

"It's not about being in compliance with the law, it's about how the distraction is impacting your ability to operate the vehicle safely," Watson said.

Watson said that not every distraction is against the law but drivers should consider whether or not what they're doing is safe.

Eating or drinking, shaving, reaching across the car are a few of a handful of distractions the ISP reports can have serious consequences.

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