Illinois Distracted Driving Awareness Week: April 24-28

EventPhotoFull_Distracted Driving Awarness Week Logo (1)In an effort to bring attention to the dangers and consequences associated with driving distracted, the State of Illinois recently passed resolutions declaring April 24-April 28, 2017 as the inaugural Illinois Distracted Driving Awareness Week. Also recognizing the importance of this issue, the Glencoe Public Safety Department partnered with Village President Larry Levin and the Board of Trustees to draft a proclamation in support of Distracted Driving Awareness Week, which will be formally considered at the April 20, 2017 Village Board meeting.

While the issue of distracted driving is not new, crashes, injuries and fatalities resulting from distracted driving are on the rise. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA):

  • 3,477 people were killed and an estimated 391,000 injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers in 2015. That is a 9% increase in fatalities as compared to the previous year.
  • 10% of fatal crashes, 15% of injury crashes and 14% 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, 16 to 24 years old, have been observed using handheld electronic devices while driving at higher rates than older drivers since 2007.

10 Tips for Managing Driver Distractions

Download flyer | Source: AAA

  1. Turn it off. Turn you phone off or switch it to silent mode before you get in the car. If you need to make a call, pull over to a safe area first.
  2. Spread the word. Set up a special message to tell callers that you are driving and you’ll get back to them as soon as possible, or sign up for a service that does this for you.
  3. Groom at home. Shaving and applying makeup are best done prior to getting in the car.
  4. Use your passengers. Ask a passenger to make the call for you.
  5. Stay safer, text later. Don’t text and drive, surf the web, or read you email while driving. It is dangerous and against the law in Illinois (and in most states).
  6. Familiarize. If you are traveling, know the state laws before you drive. In Illinois, it is illegal to make phone calls using a handheld device as well as to text while driving. Learn more about the many State laws that apply to distracted driving in Illinois.
  7. Plan ahead. Program your phone or GPS systems and review maps and directions before you start driving.
  8. Secure your pets. Pets can be a big distraction in the car. Always secure you pets properly before you start to drive.
  9. Keep kids safe. Pull over to a safe location to address situations with your children in the car.
  10. Focus on the task at hand. Refrain from smoking, eating, drinking, reading and any other activity that takes your hands, mind or eyes off the road.

While this week is being coordinated to raise awareness about distracted driving specifically, distracted walking (listening to music, texting and other general smart phone use while walking in busy areas) is becoming more and more of an issue as well. According to the National Safety Council’s Injury Facts Report – distracted walking accounted for over 11,100 injuries between 2000 and 2011. Village Manager Phil Kiraly has recently compiled a list of tips for staying safe on the road for motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians. View the tips in his blog here.

Illinois Distracted Driving Awareness Week is being coordinated by the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police and AAA, with the support of the Illinois State Police, SafetyServe.com, the National Safety Council, the Illinois Insurance Association and almost 300 law enforcement and fire agencies, including the Glencoe Public Safety Department.