Illinois’ hand-held cellphone ban went into effect in January of 2014 and prohibits the use of cellphones when driving. The law only allows for hands-free speakerphone devices that feature voice-activated or one-digit dialing.
“The Drop It and Drive Campaign is a needed reminder in an age where we are so busy and prone to multi-tasking in the car,” said Mayor Dan McLaughlin. “Even if people don’t text and drive, we want to make sure they keep the phone on silent to avoid being distracted by it while driving.”
The Illinois Department of Transportation states that distracted driving has become an epidemic in Illinois, citing over 6,000 crashes from 2010-2014 due to cellphone distractions. Of those 6,000 crashes, 39 were fatal. Drivers are four times more likely to get into an accident if driving while using a cellphone.
“We want to do all that we can to make people aware of the seriousness of using cellphones while driving,” said Police Chief Tim McCarthy. “These are accidents and fatalities that are 100 percent preventable and we want to reach as many people as we can – from all age groups – to tell them that using a cellphone can wait.”
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that roughly 800,000 people use cellphones while driving and cellphone conversations are involved in 12 times as many crashes as texting.
NHTSA data shows the average time eyes are off the road while texting is five seconds. When traveling at 55mph, that's enough time to cover the length of a football field blindfolded.
“Our goal with ‘Drop It and Drive’ is to make sure all drivers – especially teens who are new to driving - understand the importance of keeping the phone out of sight while driving,” said Village Trustee Dan Calandriello, chair of the village’s Public Safety Committee. “Nationwide, distracted driving is the lead cause of fatal crashes among teens. We want to keep spreading the word to keep eyes on the road, not on a screen.”