Metro-East News

More than 1,000 ticketed during ISP distracted-driving blitz

If drivers didn’t know then, they should have heard by now that last week was distracted driver awareness week.

And police around the state issued tickets. Lots of tickets.

Illinois State Police said from April 24-28, troopers statewide issued 1,146 distracted-driving tickets and 984 distracted-driving warnings.

It wasn’t just about writing tickets. Troopers and police also wanted to raise awareness about the dangers of driving while distracted.

“I am extremely proud of the enforcement efforts by the ISP. Our officers proudly represented the ISP in this statewide campaign,” said ISP Col. Tad Williams. “Additionally, our Safety Education Officers did a great job educating the motoring public through a number of press conferences, media releases and multitude of social media contacts.”

The use of cell phones for all drivers, regardless of age, while operating a vehicle in a school zone or construction zone is prohibited under Illinois law. Using a cell phone to text, compose, read or send electronic messages or access the Internet while driving is illegal. The violation for the first offense is $120 and can increase with multiple violations or when a violation occurs in a work or school zone.

Texting and driving is a choice that requires drivers to take their eyes off the road, hands off the wheel and mind off the task of driving, according to state police. Illinois State Police have been asking all motorists to “Drop it and Drive.”

Swansea and Fairview Heights police also conducted a recent crackdown aimed at distracted driving.

In two hours on April 27, Swansea and Fairview Heights officers set up on the corner of Illinois 159 and Frank Scott Parkway — a spot that has seen 65 accidents since 2015. An officer on a grassy corner set up with binoculars, looking for drivers on their phones, while officers in their cars stopped the offending drivers. In two hours, the task force issued 39 tickets.

Beth Hundsdorfer: 618-239-2570, @bhundsdorfer