CHICAGO (WBBM Newsradio) — Speeders and distracted drivers were the two biggest recipients of tickets and warnings in the past year to motorists on the Illinois tollway system.
Illinois State Police issued nearly 105,000 tickets and warnings in 2017 to motorists in District 15, which covers nearly 300 miles of toll roads in 12 Chicago area counties. Forty-four percent of those were for speeding or distracted driving.
There were 5,078 tickets and warnings issued for distracted driving, and 40,955 tickets and warnings for speeding.
State Trooper David Roman said motorists are blatant about driving while holding cell phones in their hands.
“I’ve been alongside motorists, and I’m in a fully marked squad car, and motorists see that I’m in a fully marked squad car, and will still continue to use a cell phone,” he said. “Many people think that because they have the speaker on a cell phone, and are holding it, that it is hands-free, and it’s not. Hands-free means hands-free; nothing in your hand.”
State law requires drivers to use a hands-free device to operate their cell phones while driving.
“If you have an old style cell phone that doesn’t have Bluetooth capability, you know, put it away. Put it on vibrate. Turn it off. Wait until you get to your destination, when the car is in park, when the car is off, and you’re able to turn on that cell phone and look at your messages or your missed calls,” Roman said.
Nearly 700 motorists in District 15 were ticketed last year for improperly securing a child in the car.
“It’s a huge deal right now, especially when it comes to children, because parents or guardians or people who are watching children aren’t educating themselves properly to install car seats, one; and then, two, properly install their child into that car seat,” Roman said.
Another 1,300 drivers were arrested for driving under the influence on the tollways in 2017, and state police made more than 1,700 criminal arrests on the tollways.