The Champaign Police Department remains committed to making Champaign’s roadways safe for all those who travel. An effective method of promoting safe, responsible driving is through driver education and awareness regarding the dangers of both vehicle speed and distracted driving.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), approximately 3,328 people were killed and close to 421,000 were injured in distraction-related crashes in 2012. NHTSA considers distracted driving to be any activity that could divert a person’s attention away from driving. All distractions endanger driver, passenger, and bystander safety. These types of distractions include:
- Using a cell phone or Smartphone
- Eating and drinking
- Reading, including maps
- Using a navigation system
- Watching a video
- Adjusting a radio, CD player, or MP3 player
Starting today, Champaign Police Officers will have a visible presence on North Prospect Avenue, between Bloomington Road and Marketview Drive to promote responsible driving and accident reduction while simultaneously educating drivers about the dangers of distracted driving. Motorists observed talking or texting on a cell phone will be contacted by an officer and provided information on the dangers of distracted driving.
“This section of roadway handles over 30,000 vehicles per day and is one of the most accident-prone locations within the City of Champaign.” says Lt. David Shaffer.
“In fact, 80% of all accidents on this portion of Prospect Avenue are rear end collisions and 48% of the accidents, at the intersection of Prospect Avenue and Bloomington Road, are also rear end collisions. Upon further examination, approximately 60% of the accidents occur between the hours of 12 p.m. and 6 p.m.,” he added.
Lt. Shaffer acknowledges that there are likely a variety of contributing factors which lead to accidents, including cell phone use, distracted driving, traffic congestion, and other violations of the Illinois Vehicle Code, which are frequently found to be improper lane usage and speed violations.
As part of the education campaign, a speed trailer has been placed on Bloomington Road to address traffic leading to the intersection, in an attempt to reduce vehicular speeds, as they approach the intersection of Prospect and Bloomington Road.
Beginning June 1, enforcement of traffic and cell phone violations will begin. In six months, the Department will evaluate the effectiveness of its educational and enforcement efforts. Historically, citations have been issued at crash scenes for Failure to Reduce Speed, Improper Lane Use and Failure to Yield violations. These are issues which can be enforced prior to accidents and will be the Department’s primary enforcement focus.
“The primary goal of this initiative is to reduce accidents and increase motorist safety,” says Shaffer.
Please take a moment to learn more about the dangers of distracted driving by visiting Distraction.gov. Please share these facts with others. Together, we can help save lives.