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Normal Police Department Enforces Distracted Driving Campaign

Written by on April 5, 2024

Photo provided by Officer Brad Park

NORMAL, Ill. – The Normal Police Department has partnered with the Illinois Department of Transportation to observe Distracted Driving Awareness Month for April.

Public Information Officer Brad Park explained that it is illegal for motorists in Illinois to have a phone in their hand while driving for any reason, whether it be for a phone call or checking maps. He shared that the campaign is funded through IDOT grants to cover the shift assignments of officers and how it works.

“Normal PD gets funds to hire back officers to specifically patrol the streets around the Bloomington-Normal area looking for distracted driving and other Illinois vehicle code violations,” Park said.

The department centers around different grants throughout the year regarding issues such as drunk driving or seatbelt safety. During these campaigns, specific patrols covering the detail focus on these stops rather than responding to traffic calls.

“They do try to make traffic stops when they can, however, it all depends on the call volume they are receiving to respond to those different calls around town,” he said.

According to Park, the number one goal of the department is safety. As Bloomington-Normal is a college town, there are many pedestrians. They aim to keep motorists and those in the campus area safe and alert.

“Numbers show that younger people do have their phone in their hand more when they are driving, so we are trying to focus that on those areas where the students are to make sure they are understanding the safety issues,” Park said.

He concluded with a safety tip for drivers.

“If you have a vehicle that is capable of having access to handsfree technology, make sure your phone can be paired with that, whether you have to plug it in through a cable or not, because we find that is definitely more beneficial,” said Park. “We understand people are going to have to make phone calls when they are driving, but if it’s something they can press a quick button on their screen and talk through their car for, we want to make sure they’re definitely doing that.”