|McLean's war against texting and driving|
|Written by Jennifer Novoseletsky, Senior Staff|
|Tuesday, 22 January 2013 19:27|
While people continue to get into tragic car accidents around the nation because of texting and driving, McLean County has not had a case significant enough for the country to talk about.
Texting and driving has been illegal for three years, but people seem to have a hard time breaking the habit regardless.
The consequence for getting caught while texting and driving in the McLean County area is a fine of $120.
Texting and driving can cause more severe violations, such as speeding or getting into an accident due to texting and driving, Amanda Street, community services officer for the Normal Police Department, said.
“We’ve become a society that’s just so connected with our cell phones and other electronic devices and we just have a hard time ignoring it,” Aaron Woodruff, police chief at ISU, explained. “So when that text comes in and you get the alert, it’s become a natural reaction for people to look at it and to respond.”
People need to be more responsible. If replying to a text is absolutely necessary, the best thing to do is pull over to the side of the road and respond, he added.
Street said people may think it is acceptable to text and drive simply because they have never gotten caught or into an accident.
“Unfortunately, I think changes in habits or behavior while driving takes something like getting into an accident or having a friend get a ticket or get into an accident — something severe like that to make someone change their habits,” she explained.
Although it may be a little bit safer, even using the speech function on the phone is illegal in the state of Illinois, Street added.
“Taking your eyes off the road to send a text message, even just to reply with an ‘lol’ or ‘on my way’ or something like that, if you’re driving down the interstate or down the road at 55 or 60 miles an hour, it’s like driving the length of a football field,” she said.
“If you think about that, that you’ve taken your eyes off the road for that distance, for that length of time and all of the crazy things that can happen during just that short period of time, it’s pretty significant,” Street added.
Texting and bumping into certain objects does is not limited to cars, but also to walking.
“We just encourage people to think about it and how easy it is to get distracted for just a second and take your eyes off the road and have somebody jump out in front of you, walk in front of you, ride a bike out in front of you or a car pull out in front of you and you just won’t have that time to stop and you’re risking your life and somebody else’s by doing it,” he said.
Watching videos related to “texting and driving” on youtube.com can prevent people from continuing to do this action in the future, Street said.