CHICAGO (CBS) — Kane County is one of the most dangerous counties in the state when it comes to getting behind the wheel, and it’s the site of a major crackdown as police are working to drive those numbers down.
“We are seeing a high number of fatal crashes,” said Sergeant Delila Garcia.
Kane County is flagged as one of the riskiest areas for driving in all of Illinois.
A statewide study focused in on the 23 counties with the most troubling numbers. Kane had 36 fatal crashes, 39 lives lost and 3,973 people injured.
“Enough is enough,” said Trooper McDonald, who sees firsthand how high the stakes are. “We are sick of the fatalities. We are sick of people getting injured when it’s preventable.”
He said many of the dangers he sees boil down to one thing.
“Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of fatal crashes and injury crashes in Illinois,” said Garcia.
Illinois State Police, the Kane County Sheriff’s Office and more teamed up to curb the problem of distracted driving through a high visibility campaign.
“We are trying to bring these numbers down,” said Garcia.
In just one day of the campaign officers warned 25 distracted drivers and ticketed 98.
Police say people who text and drive more than double their odds of a crash.
“IT’s hard to tell the difference between an intoxicated driver and a driver who’s just texting,” said McDonald.
Even drivers using voice based tech, which is supposed to be safer, are upping everyone’s risk on the road.
“Keep in mind that so many different families are out here on the road, and what you think is innocent, looking up Dunkin Donuts or sending a quick message, you can drastically change someone else’s family,” McDonald said.
State police say they’re cracking down on all distracted driving across the Chicago area and have already ticketed nearly 4,000 drivers so far in 2019.